Rating:
8 votes

CGW - Des Moines River Bridge

Photos 

You can see the remains of a builder's plate in this image

Photo taken by Jason Mrachina

License: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs (CC BY-NC-ND)

View this photo on Flickr

BH Photo #231690

Map 

Street Views 

Facts 

Overview
Lost abandoned Pratt Truss Bridge over Des Moines River
Location
Des Moines, Polk County, Iowa
Status
Last of the four spans demolished on 11 September 2013.
History
Built 1887, closed to railroad traffic in 2001; purchased by the city in 2002 for future trail usage, demolished in 2013
Railroads
- Chicago & North Western Railway (CNW)
- Chicago Great Western Railway (CGW)
Design
Four pin-connected, skewed Pratt through trusses, longest being 185', the three others being 180'
Dimensions
Length of largest span: 185.0 ft.
Total length: 725.0 ft.
Also called
CGW - Bell Ave Industrial Lead Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+41.57888, -93.60966   (decimal degrees)
41°34'44" N, 93°36'35" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/449177/4603201 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Des Moines SE
Inventory number
BH 49357 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • January 27, 2017: New photo from Daniel Barnes
  • June 29, 2014: New Street View added by Ralph Demars
  • October 31, 2013: New Street View added by Luke Harden
  • September 12, 2013: Updated by Jason Smith: This bridge has been demolished. Removal of piers and steel to be completed by the end of the year.
  • July 3, 2013: New photos from John Marvig
  • March 27, 2013: New photos from John Marvig
  • November 11, 2012: New photos from John Marvig
  • November 10, 2012: Updated by John Marvig: added correct build date as given by demolition worker
  • November 8, 2012: Updated by John Marvig: it wasn't a collapse...its a removal...
  • November 5, 2012: Updated by Jason Smith: Bridge partiallöy collapsed after the pier failed. Future now uncertain
  • October 31, 2012: New photo from Michael O'Brien
  • July 23, 2012: Updated by John Marvig: Added information
  • July 22, 2012: Updated by Luke Harden: Updated ownership as trhe city owns the bridge and the bridge is NRHP eligible
  • July 2, 2012: Updated by Luke Harden: Edited descripetion & history, added future prospects.
  • May 24, 2012: Updated by Luke Harden: Reverted name
  • May 10, 2012: Updated by Luke Harden: Added category "Riveted"
  • March 19, 2012: Updated by Luke Harden: Added category "Chicago & North Western Railway"
  • February 10, 2012: Photo imported by Luke Harden
  • November 2, 2011: New photos from Jason Smith
  • October 7, 2011: Photo imported by Luke Harden
  • October 2, 2011: Photos imported by Luke Harden
  • August 15, 2011: Added by Luke Harden

Sources 

Comments 

CGW Des Moines River Bridge
Posted September 12, 2013, by Jason Smith (JDSmith77 [at] gmx [dot] net)

Bad news everyone, the last of the four spans of the CGW Bridge went down yesterday. See link below:

http://whotv.com/2013/09/11/demolition-video-railroad-bridge...

A sad end for a bridge that could have been part of the bike trail network serving Des Moines. UP RR plans to have everything removed (piers and all) by the end of the year. :-(

Nathan (Holth), if you want to puke, I have a huge barf can for you so you can go to town and fill it up. ;-)

CGW Des Moines River Bridge
Posted June 4, 2013, by Mike Becker (mikeandcindybk [at] gmail [dot] com)

That would be a great idea!

CGW Des Moines River Bridge
Posted May 6, 2013, by John Marvig (johnmarvig [at] chaska [dot] net)

I am currently leading a charge to save the last span of the bridge. I have heavy support from Des Moines historians, who either want it rehabbed as an overlook, or relocated. I have made a save the bridge page too. I think we can preserve the remaining history here.

https://www.facebook.com/SaveTheDSMRRBridge

CGW Des Moines River Bridge
Posted December 21, 2012, by John Marvig (johnmarvig [at] chaska [dot] net)

Keep up the great photography Matt! Its good people are photographing this historic structures demise!

CGW Des Moines River Bridge
Posted December 21, 2012, by Matt Mazan (mmazan1 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

December 21, 2012

CGW Des Moines River Bridge
Posted December 21, 2012, by Matt Mazan (mmazan1 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

December 01 2012

CGW Des Moines River Bridge
Posted December 9, 2012, by Anonymous

We had almost no rain this summer & very little snow last winter, so water levels are low. Quite a contrast from the 2008 (& 1993) floods.

CGW Des Moines River Bridge
Posted November 26, 2012, by Matt Mazan (mmazan1 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

Took the first photo last Monday, second span went down sometime last week.

CGW Des Moines River Bridge
Posted November 13, 2012, by Andy W (zzjitterzz [at] yahoo [dot] com)

John, the article you linked to on the Red Bridge page- http://www.bridgehunter.com/ia/polk/union-railroad/ - mentions that the CGW bridge is being removed for flood control purposes. The river channel is to be widened at the bridge site, dooming it.

http://businessrecord.com/Main.asp?SectionID=37&SubSectionID...

CGW Des Moines River Bridge
Posted November 12, 2012, by John Marvig (johnmarvig [at] chaska [dot] net)

I can try to get in contact with him. I think he could cut up some pieces of lattice for people

Another option is pieces of stone....

CGW Des Moines River Bridge
Posted November 12, 2012, by Jason Smith (JDSmith77 [at] gmx [dot] net)

John,

Perhaps we could have him donate some of the bridge parts so that the participants of the 2013 Historic Bridge Conference can pick up a piece of history. I know I'm interested in a piece of the truss bridge for sure, but not too heavy as I'll need to take it back to Germany with me. Can you find out how it can be done? Thanks!

CGW Des Moines River Bridge
Posted November 11, 2012, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

An ironic note is that individual spans on this bridge were likely erected in less than 30 days.

CGW Des Moines River Bridge
Posted November 11, 2012, by John Marvig (johnmarvig [at] chaska [dot] net)

Talked to the demolisher yesterday. Luckily he knows me from his days taking down the bridge in Carver, MN, so I got special privileges including walking out on the bridge and a personal tour of the remaining three spans. He says it takes over 30 days to tear down a single span. Yesterday I was helping him strip off the ties, so it will be a little while before span #1 is removed.

EVERYTHING will be removed. It might not be over until June. He is planning on donating some stone and steel to local historical societies.

CGW Des Moines River Bridge
Posted November 9, 2012, by John Marvig (johnmarvig [at] chaska [dot] net)

The city and UP are stupid...

CGW Des Moines River Bridge
Posted November 9, 2012, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

Hillbilly demo? Sounds similar to Redneck demo: cut the bracing out, hit the end post with an excavator and knock it in the river, then drag it out. Of course, we should note the demo crew isn't as dumb as the city officials who authorized the demo contract to begin with. They are the true village idiots. They apparently don't want to strive for greatness as cities like Pittsburgh and Chicago do.

CGW Des Moines River Bridge
Posted November 8, 2012, by John Marvig (johnmarvig [at] chaska [dot] net)

Lost a tremendous amount of respect for them today...

CGW Des Moines River Bridge
Posted November 8, 2012, by John Marvig (johnmarvig [at] chaska [dot] net)

Hillbilly demolition. Tie cables to the top of the bridge, cut it in half and drop it. To be repeated 3 more times.....

CGW Des Moines River Bridge
Posted November 2, 2012, by John Marvig (johnmarvig [at] chaska [dot] net)

It appears that one span collapsed. If it was a demolition, they would have started on an end. And the metal wouldn't be so twisted

When I was there this summer, the pier supporting that bridge was crumbling and falling apart. Picture #2 shows the pier fell apart, and likley collapsed, causing the span to fall.

So this raises the question, are they going to save what's left of it, or is it all going down?

CGW Des Moines River Bridge
Posted November 2, 2012, by Andy W (jitterz [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Went down and took some pics...

CGW Des Moines River Bridge
Posted November 2, 2012, by John Marvig (johnmarvig [at] chaska [dot] net)

Is it possible they are rehabilitating it? It was purchased by the city with intent of being fixed up and being put into service as a pedestrian bridge in 2002...

CGW Des Moines River Bridge
Posted November 2, 2012, by Andy W (jitterz [at] hotmail [dot] com)

ONE SPAN HAS COLLAPSED! Or has been torn down- just saw it on the news with it sitting on the sand bar and a piece of equipment working on it.

CGW Des Moines River Bridge
Posted July 22, 2012, by Luke Harden (lmharden [at] iastate [dot] edu)

I got those dates from the description section of this image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/photo-logic/3216359815/

CGW Des Moines River Bridge
Posted July 22, 2012, by John Marvig (johnmarvig [at] chaska [dot] net)

Might I ask how we got the dates "1893 to 1901"? Since the center pier is concrete, I would suspect 1901 if the given options were solid. But someone took the plates off the bridge. I will ask the C&NWHS for a date...

CGW Des Moines River Bridge
Posted July 4, 2012, by julie bowers (jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

I dind of like the photos in the comments. It allows me to quickly see what is going on. Just sayin'. I use the forum and not the update page mostly. And find it easier to scroll rather than redraw and click through to each page for information and photos.

CGW Des Moines River Bridge
Posted July 4, 2012, by julie bowers (jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

I dind of like the photos in the comments. It allows me to quickly see what is going on. Just sayin'. I use the forum and not the update page mostly. And find it easier to scroll rather than redraw and click through to each page for information and photos.

CGW Des Moines River Bridge
Posted July 3, 2012, by John Marvig (johnmarvig [at] chaska [dot] net)

Hopefully we can see this bridge as a trail in the next few years!

CGW Des Moines River Bridge
Posted July 2, 2012, by Luke Harden (lmharden [at] iastate [dot] edu)

According to this PDF: http://www.stb.dot.gov/filings/all.nsf/0/2d0741dbe7420641852... The trail that would utilize this bridge would start at 63rd and McKinley, connecting along other trails and bridges. (Including the 5th street and Waterworks park truss bridges)

Map of the plan on page 5

Des Moines River Railroad Bridge
Posted October 15, 2011, by Anonymous

More photos, This Bridge lends itself to some great photo opportunity’s.

Des Moines River Railroad Bridge
Posted October 15, 2011, by Matt Mazan (mmazan1 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

The river levels are currently very low giving me a chance to take some close up shots of the piers and structure underneath. Discovered that there has been a fire on the deck of the bridge and barriers have been placed to keep people off.

Des Moines River Railroad Bridge
Posted October 7, 2011, by Julie Bowers (jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

I would say that we can look forward to more high water stages in Des Moines so it will be interesting to see what they do.

Des Moines River Railroad Bridge
Posted October 7, 2011, by Luke Harden (lmharden [at] iastate [dot] edu)

Well that was during the floods in 08, which was pretty much the worst flooding seen in years for our region. I don't know how often the river gets that high my guess would be not that often), but this bridge is just as low as a bunch of the other bridges across the Des Moines River in the city. So I think that some work on the piers (not only for better flow but they ought to be inspected and repaired if need before it is used for traffic) would be enough. It's really good that this bridge is considered for re-use, Des Moines definitely sees the potential in the adaptive reuse of abandoned/unused bridges for pedestrian usage, and I commend them for that

Des Moines River Railroad Bridge
Posted October 7, 2011, by Julie Bowers (jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

I just talked with Bill Stowe and this bridge is on his radar as part of Des Moines and Polk County. As you can tell it does obstruct flow during flooding. Any ideas on how to mitigate? Lifting the spans would be as expensive as tearing them out so there must be some solution. What about skinning the piers with metal to help flow? I am no engineer, we all know that, but there must be some ideas. All of the tiling going on in agricultural lands here, means that the water gets to the rivers so much more quickly. No one is really talking about that because it means fighting BIG AG. Need to get them on our side by planting habitats and ponds for filtering the water before it gets off their land.....if you know any ag people.......

Des Moines River Railroad Bridge
Posted October 4, 2011, by Luke Harden (lmharden [at] iastate [dot] edu)

It would be easy too seeing as the Des Moines Trail ends where southwest and southeast 1st street merge and the eastern end of the bridge would intersect the Neal Smith Trail perpendicularly if the bridge were to be utilized for trail use., so you could connect the trail to the other quite easily, the would have to totally revamp the bridge to make it safer, but it's do-able and I seriously hope Des Moines is considering doing just that because they already have done a spectacular job reusing/re-purposing the other unused/unfit for vehicular traffic bridges in town and this is set up perfectly to just be added to their trail network.

Des Moines River Railroad Bridge
Posted October 3, 2011, by Daniel Hopkins (chimera [at] clovermail [dot] net)

Wow this would be great for a walking trail!

Des Moines River Railroad Bridge
Posted October 2, 2011, by Matt Mazan (mmazan1 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

Winter of 09

Des Moines River Railroad Bridge
Posted October 2, 2011, by Anonymous

bridge during floods of 08