6 votes

Red Bridge


Photo taken by Jason Mrachina

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

View this photo on Flickr

BH Photo #231692

Street Views 


Pratt Through Truss Bridge over Des Moines River on Principal Riverwalk
Des Moines, Polk County, Iowa
Open to pedestrian traffic
Built 1891; One truss span lost due to collision with a shifted flatcar load 1944; Abandoned in 1995; Converted to trail use in 2006; Raised 2016-17
- Des Moines Bridge & Iron Co./Works of Des Moines, Iowa (West Girder)
- Detroit Bridge & Iron Works of Detroit, Michigan (Trusses)
- Stanley Consultants of Muscatine, Iowa (Engineers; 2013 Raising)
- Stupp Brothers Bridge & Iron Co. of St. Louis, Missouri (East Girder)
- Des Moines Union Railway (DMU)
- Norfolk & Western Railway (NW)
- Wabash Railroad (WAB)
1-45' I-Beam (Non-Authentic Span)
1-68' Steel Girder (Built 1905)
2-155' Pin Connected Pratt Truss Spans (Built 1891)
1-75' Through Plate Girder (Added 1945)
1-20' I-Beam (Added 1945)
Length of largest span: 155.0 ft.
Total length: 527.0 ft.
Also called
N&W - Des Moines River Bridge
DMU - Des Moines River Bridge
Union Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+41.58525, -93.61639   (decimal degrees)
41°35'07" N, 93°36'59" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/448622/4603911 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Des Moines SE
Inventory number
BH 49358 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • March 23, 2021: Updated by John Marvig: added information from site report
  • June 27, 2018: New photo from John Bernhisel
  • January 6, 2018: New photos from Daniel Barnes
  • October 19, 2017: New photos from John Marvig
  • April 9, 2016: Updated by Luke: Updated history
  • October 19, 2015: New photos from John Marvig
  • September 9, 2015: New photos from Luke
  • November 7, 2014: Updated by James Holzmeier: Added 3 photos of bridge
  • May 5, 2014: Updated by Luke Harden: Added category "Painted red"
  • October 31, 2013: New Street View added by Luke Harden
  • September 12, 2013: New photos from Jason Smith
  • March 2, 2013: Updated by John Marvig: added correct build date as given by contractor article
  • December 21, 2012: Photo imported by Luke Harden
  • November 12, 2012: New photos from John Marvig
  • July 27, 2012: Updated by Luke Harden: Built ca.1886 when the Des Moines Union railway was built
  • July 23, 2012: New photos from John Marvig
  • July 22, 2012: Updated by John Marvig: Added information
  • July 2, 2012: Updated by Luke Harden: Added abandonment date to the history.
  • June 24, 2012: Updated by Luke Harden: Added category "Des Moines Union Railway"
  • October 7, 2011: New photo from Luke Harden
  • September 19, 2011: Updated by Jason Smith: This is a combination of two spans of Pratt through truss and multiple span pony girders
  • August 22, 2011: Updated by Luke Harden: changed name and added approach info
  • August 15, 2011: Added by Luke Harden


  • Luke
  • Jason Smith - flensburg [dot] bridgehunter [dot] av [at] googlemail [dot] com
  • John Marvig - marvigj27 [at] gmail [dot] com
  • James Holzmeier - wabashry [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Daniel Barnes
  • John Bernhisel - Johnmbernhisel [at] gmail [dot] com


Red Bridge
Posted June 18, 2017, by Roger Deschner (rogerdeschner [at] gmail [dot] com)

The Red Bridge in Des Moines is "high"lighted (pun intended) in this Associated Press article, which has been published in a number of newspapers today such as the Chicago Tribune. It reports on a number of bridges that are being raised in inland areas of the country due to increasing flood risk.


Red Bridge
Posted November 7, 2014, by James Holzmeier (wabashry [at] gmail [dot] com)

None of the Wabash Railroad documents I have list this bridge as having a Wabash bridge number, because the bridge was technically under the ownership of the Des Moines Union Ry. (co-owned by the Wabash & MILW railroads), but...what I do have shows this bridge having a total length of 556 feet. "Pile Trestle-E. Approach, Thro' Trusses, Deck Girder-W. Approach" is what's listed. This bridge is strikingly similar to Wabash Bridge #2891 over the Des Moines River north of Harvey, IA. That bridge was built in 1890 so, I would presume the build date of this bridge is correct.