Rating:
4 votes

Little Osage River Bridge

Photos 

Photo taken by Robert Elder

BH Photo #110243

Map 

Facts 

Overview
Through truss bridge over Little Osage River on 35th Street
Location
Bourbon County, Kansas
Status
Intact but closed to all traffic
History
Built in 1896 by the Wrought Iron Bridge Co.
Builder
- Wrought Iron Bridge Co. of Canton, Ohio
Design
Nine panel, pin connected Pratt through truss
Dimensions
Length of largest span: 170.9 ft.
Total length: 172.9 ft.
Deck width: 12.1 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 17.6 ft.
Approximate latitude, longitude
+38.02113, -95.04152   (decimal degrees)
38°01'16" N, 95°02'29" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/320802/4210126 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Blue Mound
Average daily traffic (as of 2006)
20
Inventory numbers
KS 000061069005721 (Kansas local bridge number on the National Bridge Inventory)
BH 17401 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of March 2016)
Overall condition: Poor
Superstructure condition rating: Serious (3 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Imminent Failure (1 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 16.9 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • October 29, 2017: New photos from Nick Schmiedeler
  • December 30, 2014: New photo from Randy Rasa
  • November 16, 2010: Updated by Robert Elder: Edited Categories
  • December 20, 2009: Updated by Joshua Collins: changed GPS coordinates
  • November 15, 2008: Updated by Robert Elder: Edited Categories
  • November 9, 2008: New photo from Ruth Reynolds
  • July 7, 2008: Updated by Robert Elder: Edited Categories
  • February 28, 2008: Updated by Robert Elder: Edited "Year Built" and "History"

Sources 

  • Robert Elder - robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Ruth Reynolds - ruthmusic [at] yahoo [dot] com
  • Joshua Collins - Bigjc1979 [at] aol [dot] com
  • Nick Schmiedeler - nick [at] nickschmiedeler [dot] com
  • Randy Rasa

Comments 

Little Osage River Bridge
Posted October 30, 2017, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Julie:

I am not surprised that the north end of the deck took a beating given the steep hill immediately north of the bridge.

I am glad to hear that you will be in Bourbon County. I hope that all goes well. There are so many opportunities there...

Little Osage River Bridge
Posted October 30, 2017, by Julie Bowers (jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

It took a beating from that downhill onto the bridge planks at the first floorbeam. I'll be in Bourbon County Tuesday.

Little Osage River Bridge
Posted October 29, 2017, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

I am glad that this one is still here. This is an awesome bridge that deserved to be preserved.

Bourbon County is a great historic bridge destination.

Little Osage River Bridge
Posted October 29, 2017, by Nick Schmiedeler

Oct. 29th, 2017 update - still closed of course, still intact, still awesome and unique

Little Osage River Bridge
Posted December 30, 2014, by Randy Rasa (rasarandy [at] gmail [dot] com)

I passed over this bridge yesterday. It is closed to motor vehicle traffic, but is still easily traversable by foot or by bicycle.

Little Osage River Bridge
Posted March 13, 2014, by Julie Bowers (jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com@)

That is interesting. I drove that bridge and the decking was bad where cars hit in at full force coming down the hill. All it needs is decking. Very cool bridge.

Don't know what the county intends with this one. Pretty far out.

Little Osage River Bridge
Posted March 13, 2014, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

According to the NBI, this 1896 Wrought Iron Bridge Co. bridge has been closed to all traffic and the deck is listed as "imminent failure". Hopefully this one does not get removed entirely. It is in the same county as the Long Shoals Bridge.

Little Osage River Bridge
Posted July 1, 2013, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

A couple years ago, there was an interesting discussion of this bridge, specifically its unusual height. It was also noted that a bridge of this length would often follow the Whipple, not the Pratt configuration.

Interestingly enough, there is a Whipple truss in West Virgina which is extremely similar, save for the truss configuration:

http://bridgehunter.com/wv/marshall/26A020/

Both were built by the Wrought Iron Bridge Co.

Both were built in 1896.

Both have identical (or at least nearly identical) portal bracing.

Both have identical plaques.

Both have a main span length reportedly of 170 feet (though the West Virginia example appears longer).

Both have similar deck widths.

One main difference is the sway bracing. This bridge features rather elaborate sway bracing, while the West Virginia example does not.

Little Osage River Bridge
Posted November 16, 2010, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Good to hear from the expert!

Little Osage River Bridge
Posted November 16, 2010, by Anthony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Some builders would push conventional limits when it came the length of their Pratt trusses. The Lafayette Bridge Company was building Pratt's in the 1890's up to around 190 feet long that would have required a Whipple truss 10 years earlier. The Elkhart Bridge & Iron Company trumped that in the 2nd decade of the 20th century by hitting 200 ft. with a single span Pratt.

Along with the length of these spans extra height was needed to increase the depth of the trusses. Usually, these spans are fitted with substantial sway bracing to manage the added height. This span is surprising in that only 2 panel points have added bracing, with the remainder using only laced struts.

More impressive to me than the height of this bridge is the size of the panels. If the length given is correct, then these panels are pushing 19 ft. which is impressive. It also further helps to explain why the trusses are so tall.

Little Osage River Bridge
Posted November 16, 2010, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

That is an interesting question, especially as the bridge has such a narrow deck width. This bridge does seem to have a rather tall truss.

Little Osage River Bridge
Posted November 16, 2010, by B Lauver (bllauver [at] toad [dot] net)

Does anyone know why it was built with such a high vertical clearance?