To address the comment about the silver Parker truss span, no, it was never a deck truss span. While it is possible the span seen today is not original, the original span there was a Parker truss. This bridge's construction is extremely well documented in period engineering periodicals. The 720 foot span of this bridge was the longest simple span truss ever built when completed. There were several reasons why a simple span was selected instead of a cantilever, one of them being the sand in the area as opposed to rock, which may explain why the equally unusual and large simple span Brookport Bridge nearby is also not a cantilever.
Today I recently visited this bridge. You look at these things online and you really don't get a sense of how massive and amazing the engineering was on these bridges, especially for this being 93 years old!
When we approached the bridge, all of it was completely rust. We were on the Illinois side, and we decided to jump on the supports underneath, ignoring the "no trespassing sign". It was pretty awesome.
When we got out of the car I was marveled. To imagine that back in 1917 they were able to build this just astounds me. We were underneath the Illinois side supports and I got freaked out just climbing those 15 foot members.
To imagine that people had to walk across the spans at the top with welding equipment just floors me. For 1917, this is amazing. I want to be a structural engineer when I grow up, and Ralph Modjeski is one of my inspirations.
Oh yeah, by the way, back in the 1960's both of my uncles (when they were preteens, of course) walked across this. I got freaked out 15 feet above the ground. To imagine they walked across a railroad bridge with no guard rails across the approaches, (not sure if they're any across the spans) is crazy! I would never have the guts to do that. Although, I did recall that there were decks and ladders across the spans for emergencies.
But this bridge truly is amazing. The engineering and architecture is astounding. I salute the brave men who built this huge thing.
Because they're a lot braver than me.
Don't quote me, but I believe the "white" camelback truss probably was a sister pratt deck truss like the one on the other side of the "black" river trusses. Looks like a later modification to me. On walking over railroad bridges for pics: It may be rewarding, but foolhardy. It is very risky, and all about judgement and timing.
I see five black camelback bridge and one new white camelback bridge (1950). what happen one camelback bridge was lost. Thank you.
I once walked across this entire bridge and took some great photographs, I got lucky because the train came after I walked back but there was some ladders off the side to get on in case of emergency, that and I had to look out for the cops. I do not recommend doing what I did.