The recent flood waters in the area have subsided now. It sounds like the flooding was worse in the Little Arkansas and the section of the Arkansas River drainage west of the Flint Hills than in the Whitewater and Walnut River drainage. (The Whitewater River joins the Walnut River, which in turn joins the Arkansas immediately north of the Oklahoma state line).
Hopefully this one held, but flooding on the Whitewater River is a regular occurrence, so it is only a matter of time before this one collapses into the river.
This area has had some high water with more rain on the way. Hopefully this one can keep standing until someone can stabilize it.
Good to hear Robert...As I was really surprised the bridge has survived if the water had actually gotten that high!
Just heard from Mr. Lytton. Apparently the limbs on top of the truss came from a falling tree, not from floodwater. This river still floods a lot, however. I just has not gotten over the truss.
Trees are also a hazard to trusses.
I just uploaded some new photographs from Mr. Lytton. There is driftwood on top of the truss.
The Whitewater River normally looks very placid, but it can become a raging torrent without warning. This river is notorious for flooding. Following a major rainfall, it becomes dangerous and unpredictable.
Well, actually it is predictable - it floods!
Also, Butler County appears to be in the process of replacing a bridge over the Whitewater River near Augusta, but it is not this one. Don't worry if you happen to find this via a Google search. The bridge being replaced is a non-historic structure on nearby Thunder Road.
Unfortunately I do not know of any stonemasons in the area. Glad that KSHS seems to be interested in investigating this bridge. I just wish I could be there as well.
One important factor is the fact that Butler County has a very good track record for historic bridge preservation. Like any other jurisdiction, they have demolished the occasional bridge, but overall, they have done an excellent job of balancing the needs of transportation with preservation.
As an example, the Gordon Bridge was replaced, but allowed to remain standing next to its replacement. http://bridgehunter.com/ks/butler/gordon/
I strongly suspect that there would be interest in preserving this bridge if local residents and officials were made aware of its existence.
There are no emergency funds, but KSHS can move to investigate or add it to their database. They would look into it, was also the response I got Robert.
Need a mason it appears....at low water.
HOW DOES ONE FIGURE IT OUT.
KSHS has just added this structure to their Historic Bridge database. The listing can be viewed here:
Too bad the TRUSS Award nomination deadline has passed...
I have notified Julie Bowers about this bridge. I also sent a message to one of my contacts at KSHS. This one has got to be saved. As I told Julie, it ranks right up there with the Long Shoals Bridge in terms of significance. We are down to six extant P.E. Lane listings on Bridgehunter.
Two of those six are in Kansas. The other bridge, which has similar but smaller portal bracing, is on the NRHP. You can see it here:
As a side note, I find it interesting that this bridge has very short and very lightweight stringer approaches. I would think that pony trusses would have made better approach spans.
I'm afraid that unless something drastic is done soon to reinforce that failing pier...this bridge will soon be in the "Lost" category.
Would hate to see that happen!
Well, I guess I was wrong in my speculation about the builder. I never guessed P.E. Lane.
Google Earth has just updated their imagery again. I can now positively say that this bridge has angled lattice portal bracing, but it is unlike the angled lattice portal bracing on the two Kansas City Bridge and Iron Co. bridges in this same county.
Effectively, this eliminates (almost certainly) the Columbia Bridge Works as a fabricator, but now I am thinking that the King Iron Bridge Co. may be responsible even though Butler Co. also has 1, and possibly 2 examples of WIBC bridges.
Butler County has some good GIS imagery of this vicinity. It appears that this bridge may have angled lattice portal bracing, but it is still hard to tell for certain. Having no futher information on this bridge, I am still suspecting either Kansas City Bridge and Iron Co. or Wrought Iron Bridge Co. may be the builder. Both firms used angled lattice portal bracing.
I can just about guarantee that it is pre-1900 and wrought iron regardless of fabricator. You can access the maps here:
Yes, that should be possible. My only problem is that I no longer live in the area.
Butler Co has a GIS which allows locating the name of the owner of the property upon which this bridge sits. The county does not maintain a road although they may still hold an easement which will not show in the tax rolls. County road dept might be able to answer questions.
The name and contact info for the owner is accessible so it should be possible to seek permission for a visit.
It has been a while since I studied imagery of this bridge. The latest imagery was created on the same day, in roughly the same light as the imagery for this nearby WIBC span: http://bridgehunter.com/ks/butler/80855306461/
There is still no way to know without a field check as to who built this bridge, but the comparison indicates to me that the materials in this bridge are at least as lightweight as those on the WIBC bridge.
One other thing-the Butler County webpage has a number of document sites you can access, including Deeds & Real Estate. I didn't go in, but someone might be able to find out who owns the property the bridge is on.
Just a minor P.S.-looking at Google Earth again, I see a large pile of debris or brush on the top end of the bridge, apparently on the deck. I also don't see any cross-bracing across the top panels.
Being a cartophile in addition to a pontist, I must share with you the joys of county road maps. Counties receiving federal road money produce maps of all roads maintained by the county. Kansas keeps them all on the KDOT site http://www.ksdot.org/maps.asp along with other transportation related maps and some historic county maps. This allows one to see all significant bridges maintained by the county and to know if a road is still publicly maintained. Older maps allow one to look for roads and alignments from the past that can suggest abandoned bridges.
In the case of this bridge and the roads leading to it, the county does not record them on the map, hence I'd have to say the county no longer claims to maintain them. Determining whether the right of way is still owned by the county would require seeing a plat map, sometimes found with the GIS info on county websites.
The first picture is the county road map showing no county maintained road to this bridge. The second is from the GIS for Jackson County, MO showing the old alignment for Colbern Road still platted as county property up to the river from the west. The area to the east of the river has been replatted for development and the county no longer has a road easement. (You'll have to enlarge it to see the property lines.)
Webmaster's note: The photos that were here have been incorporated into the main site.
Good thought about the county wanting to have as many miles of roads as possible. Perhaps they might not be too quick to abandon the bridge officially.
I can't tell any more than Tony from the satellite image. However, you should contact the county and find out if the road really is private. Sometimes counties hold on to right-of-way for roads even if abandoned because they get to claim them in declarations of total county miles of road for funding purposes.
It is certainly possible that a landowner could be using the bridge for light vehicles ie ATVs, etc. As the bridge is surrounded by private property, owner usage would probably be a good thing because that would indicate that the bridge is at least receiving maintenance and hopefully protection from trees. As noted by Anthony, the deck appears to be in reasonable condition.
I have tried doing some online research to find information on this bridge, but so far nothing. This one might take a personal visit or a trip to the Butler County Courthouse in El Dorado.
The bad news is the bridge appears to be inaccessible without permission. The good news is Butler County has a good track record from bridge preservation and there is substantial interest in historic bridges in this region. After I have done as much research as I can do from Texas, I will e-mail some contacts in Kansas.
Anthony, Nathan, Michael et al. if you have any ideas or can decipher anything from the truss or the shadows, I would be interested in any suspicions you may have.
I am trying to look for a portal amid the trees at the south end.
I looked on Google Earth using the historical imagery slider (the "clock thing"). As of Oct. 1991, the bridge seemed to be a leg connecting 90th Ave on either side of the river, & looked to still be in use. There are 3 shiny/white objects in the middle of the open area just north of the bridge that could be grain bins. Could be a farmer's wagon bridge? I'm just guessing here...
That would be phenomenal if we had another CBW. That would make-up for the one that we let collapse last year. The though of a CBW did cross my mind as I tried to decipher the shadows. It looks like this bridge has very narrow panels as well, which further piques my interest.
Butler County seemed to favor the Kansas City Bridge & Iron Co. as well as the Wrought Iron Bridge Co. so these are two other possibilities.
Unfortunately, SW 90th road is barricaded from Dike Road, so it may be private now. This bridge definitely needs to be investigated. Now if only I can get permission, and catch this road at a time when Chelsea would not get stuck in the mud.
Great find Robert!
You are right, this is definitely a Pratt through....and does appear to have rather light members.
I looked at the Bing Bird's eye view.....which unfortunately didn't yield a better look. However, the Bing map does show SW 90th Road crossing at this location.
It appears to me that the span either has a concrete deck, or if it is wood then it has not been closed long enough to deteriorate.
Who knows........maybe Columbia Bridge Works built more than 1 bridge in Kansas!
I found this bridge thanks to Google Earth. It looks like a Pratt through truss constructed of lightweight materials (perhaps wrought iron). I can not find any listing for the bridge on Bridgehunter, NBI, or the KSHS Database. What do you think? The shadow sure indicates a truss bridge.