3 votes

Chimney Rock Bridge


Oblique view

Photo taken October 2005 by Jason & Birgit Smith

BH Photo #101897



Through truss bridge over Upper Iowa River on Chimney Rock Road
Winneshiek County, Iowa
Closed to all traffic
Built 1906 by the Continental Bridge Co. Relocated here in 1952- is the first bridge built at this location.
- Continental Bridge Co. of Chicago, Illinois (1903- 1907)
Pin-connected, 10-panel Parker through truss with Town Lattice portal bracing
Length of largest span: 158.1 ft.
Total length: 162.1 ft.
Deck width: 15.4 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 14.5 ft.
Also called
Snell Bridge (prior to 1952)
Approximate latitude, longitude
+43.42150, -91.93510   (decimal degrees)
43°25'17" N, 91°56'06" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/586202/4808174 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Land survey
T. 99 N., R. 9 W., Sec. 5
Average daily traffic (as of 2009)
Inventory numbers
IA 348790 (Iowa bridge number)
BH 14723 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of March 2016)
Overall condition: Poor
Superstructure condition rating: Poor (4 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 21.9 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • November 18, 2017: Added photos from James Baughn
  • June 25, 2017: Updated by James Baughn: Field visit reveals this bridge is closed to traffic
  • April 26, 2017: New photos from Kevin Skow
  • October 11, 2012: Updated by Jason Smith: Added category "Town lattice portal bracing"
  • February 1, 2012: Updated by Jason Smith: Added information on the bridge- bridge was moved to this location in 1952
  • January 30, 2011: New photos from Benjamin Cole
  • September 30, 2009: New photos from Jason Smith
  • December 19, 2005: Posted photos from Jason and Birgit Smith


  • Jason Smith - flensburg [dot] bridgehunter [dot] av [at] googlemail [dot] com
  • Benjamin Cole - mountainjam99 [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Historicbridges.org - by Nathan Holth
  • Kevin Skow - weatherbum [at] hotmail [dot] com
  • James Baughn - webmaster [at] bridgehunter [dot] com


Chimney Rock Bridge
Posted November 5, 2020, by Troy Knox (troyjknox [at] hotmail [dot] com)

This bridge is also locally known as Snell's bridge as the old stone house to the east of it was built by the Snell family in the late 1860's-early 1870's. The attached pictures were taken 11/1/2020 and 11/4/2020.

Chimney Rock Bridge
Posted October 31, 2020, by Julie Bowers (jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

It's always money and risk as far as I've been able to ascertain. Oh, and old white male supervisors that make those budgetary decisions. This bridge isn't far from the disaster at the bowstring. Gravel companies and big ag drive the bus up there. 400 crossings in that county.

Chimney Rock Bridge
Posted October 31, 2020, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Yes, it certainly should be left standing as the last inspection report gives no indication that it will collapse anytime in the near future. But beyond that the ADT count on this bridge is ridiculously low, and the small area it serves appears to be as much forest as agriculture. This bridge has served that area for 114 years and I see no reason it couldn't have be rehabbed for continued use.

Chimney Rock Bridge
Posted October 31, 2020, by Luke - Context Clues Advocate.

His comment about ignorance was referring to the county's desire to remove the bridge instead of leaving it as-is for pedestrian usage.

Chimney Rock Bridge
Posted October 31, 2020, by Julie Bowers (jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Not ignorance really. Too many bridges with ag traffic. Small county budgets. How would you make those decisions Tony? They know what they have, or had. Saved a few I guess but are there solutions you could share for the county engineers?

Chimney Rock Bridge
Posted October 30, 2020, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Winneshiek County continues to flaunt their ignorance.

I hadn't noticed the plaques on this one before... Identical to Massillon plaques from the 1880's.

Chimney Rock Bridge
Posted October 30, 2020, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

A new bridge has been built on new alignment and while the bridge is still standing it sounds like they plan demolition eventually. https://www.decorahnews.com/news-stories/2020/10/26607.html

Chimney Rock Bridge
Posted June 6, 2017, by Julie Bowers (jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

It was the supervisors in this case.

Chimney Rock Bridge
Posted June 5, 2017, by Jason Smith (flensburg [dot] bridgehunter [dot] av [at] googlemail [dot] com)

The article has been archived but I wrote an update on this bridge: http://thebridgehunter.areavoices.com/2017/06/06/chimney-roc...

Probably one of the best saves Bjerke has made in his career sofar.

Chimney Rock Bridge
Posted June 3, 2017, by Art S. (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)

Repair vs. replacement recommended!!:


Chimney Rock Bridge
Posted September 16, 2012, by Tim (tal61 [at] sbcglobal [dot] net)

Continental Bridge Co. from Alexandria Mn. didn't exist until some time in the 1980's. Prior to this a Continental Bridge Co. existed in Peotone Illinois with it's headquarters in Chicago. This was from 1903 - 1948. The assets of the company were bought by Bennett Industries who continued bridge and structural work until 1977.