3 votes

Combination Bridge


General View Of The Bridge From The South Shore, Looking Wnw

Photos by Robert Ryan and Hans Muessig, May 1980, for HAER

View photos at Library of Congress

BH Photo #124500

Street View 


Lost Through truss bridge over Missouri River on Old US 20 in Sioux City
Sioux City, Woodbury County, Iowa, and Dakota County, Nebraska
Replaced by new bridge
Built 1890-96; North Approach replaced 1907; Nebraska swing span electrified 1919; South approach replaced 1922; North Approach rebuilt 1929; Rails removed 1937; Iowa swing span removed 1957; Cantilevered roadways widened 1961-62; Replaced 1980
- J.A.L. Waddell of Port Hope, Canada
- Phoenix Bridge Co. of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania
- Sooysmith & Co. of Chicago, Illinois
- Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad (CBQ)
- Great Northern Railway (GN)
- Pacific Short Line
- Sioux City Service Co. (SCS)
- Sioux City Traction Co.
- Streetcar
"The Pacific Short Line Combination Bridge was the work of three prominent names in the late 19th century American engineering: J.A.L. Waddell (chief engineer), Charles Sooysmith's Sooysmith & Company (foundations and piers), and the Phoenix Iron and Bridge companies (fabricators and erectors). The dates of the Pacific Short Line Bridge (1890-1896) make it among the early large-scale works of both Waddell and Sooysmith. It is also one of Waddell's and Phoenix's earliest efforts in steel bridge design and construction, at a time when the use of steel was still not universally accepted, particularly for spans of the size of the Pacific Short Line bridge. As constructed, the bridges consisted of two 470' rim-bearing, through Pratt swing spans and two 500' Pennsylvania through trusses. All spans were pin-connected. The bridge was built at least partially as Sioux City's response to changing developments in Upper Missouri transportation systems, as westward running railroads supplanted steamboats, which were instrumental in the city's early growth, as the principal carriers of people, goods and raw materials during the 1880's. The bridge also stands as a rather spectacular relic from the late 19th century speculative scheme to build a transcontinental "short line" from Sioux City to Ogden, Utah. Although the Pacific Short Line failed after two years (a lifespan common to other railroad ventures of its kind), businessmen of Sioux City saw the bridge through to completion. The transcontinental plans were not realized, but the bridge provided needed competition for the 1888 Union Bridge at Sioux City, controlled by the Chicago and North Western Railroad, and gave Sioux City businessmen access to potential markets in northeastern Nebraska. Perhaps the most long-lasting impact of the Pacific Short Line bridge was that its wagon, streetcar and pedestrian paths, eventually expanded to a full four lanes of highway, served to connect Sioux City physically -- and psychologically -- to areas to the west and south, resulting in the development of South Sioux City and environs as part of Sioux City's market and metropolitan area.

"The Pacific Short Line Bridge was documented bu Bennett, Muessig & Associates, Ltd., Iowa City, Iowa, for the Iowa Department of Transportation. This document fulfills the obligations of the Iowa Department of Transportation, the Nebraska Department of Roads, and the Federal Highway Administration under a Memorandum of Agreement between the Federal Highway Administration, the States of Iowa and Nebraska, and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, purusant to 36 CFR 800. The bridge was photographed in May 1980 and measured in August 1980. The project team consisted of Martha H. Bowers, Historian; John Hotopp, Project Assistant; Hans Muessig, Engineering Historian and Photographer; and Robert Ryan, Photographer and Project Assistant."

HAER Documentation Project
Completed by Dennett, Muessig & Associates, Iowa City, Iowa
for Iowa Department of Transportation, Ames, Iowa


Length of largest span: 500.0 ft.
Total length: 1,940.0 ft.
Also called
Pacific Short Line Bridge
US20 Missouri River Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+42.48725, -96.41365   (decimal degrees)
42°29'14" N, 96°24'49" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
14/712559/4707118 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Sioux City South
Inventory number
BH 37432 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • May 4, 2022: New photo from Geoff Hubbs
  • August 5, 2021: New photo from Geoff Hubbs
  • September 5, 2019: New photo from Geoff Hubbs
  • November 17, 2015: New photo from Douglas Butler
  • May 2, 2015: Updated by Luke: Added category "Double Swing"
  • April 27, 2015: Updated by Luke: Changed name from HAER name to common name.
  • July 12, 2013: Updated by Luke Harden: Added categories "Pacific Short Line", "Railroad", "Rail-to-road"
  • July 12, 2013: New photo from David Backlin
  • March 12, 2013: Updated by Luke Harden: Added builder
  • July 19, 2011: New Street View added by Jason Smith
  • September 14, 2008: Added by J.R. Manning


  • J.R. Manning - thekitchenguy [at] sbcglobal [dot] net
  • HAER IA-1 - Pacific Shortline Bridge
  • Jason Smith - flensburg [dot] bridgehunter [dot] av [at] googlemail [dot] com
  • Luke
  • David Backlin - us71 [at] cox [dot] net
  • Douglas Butler
  • Geoff Hubbs