2 votes

Chelsea Bridge (old)


Photo taken by Nick Schmiedeler in April 2017


BH Photo #385037


Street Views 


Written by Robert Elder

This bridge is commonly known as the Old Chelsea Bridge. It formerly provided access to the town of Chelsea, Kansas which has now been partially submerged by the waters of El Dorado Lake.

I do not remember this bridge being open, but I strongly suspect that it carried the old alignment of Highway 177 across the BNSF railroad. Highway 177 was re-routed with the construction of the reservoir. It now crosses an arm of the lake via the New Chelsea Bridge, which is a UCEB.

The BNSF railroad has been relocated to the north and west of the lake and roughly parallels the Kansas Turnpike/I-35 as they cross the northern end of the lake.


Bridge over abandoned ATSF railroad on NE Cole Creek Rd
El Dorado, Butler County, Kansas
- Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway (ATSF)
Approximate latitude, longitude
+37.91099, -96.76762   (decimal degrees)
37°54'40" N, 96°46'03" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
14/696245/4198289 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
De Graff
Land survey
T. 25 S., R. 6 E., Sec. 3
Inventory number
BH 48125 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • April 1, 2017: New photos from Nick Schmiedeler
  • August 29, 2012: Updated by Luke Harden: Corrected BNSF to ATSF as the BNSF wasn't formed until 1996, added ATSF cat.
  • April 22, 2011: Updated by Robert Elder: Edited Crosses and Overview
  • February 14, 2011: Essay added by Robert Elder
  • February 14, 2011: Added by Sheldon Wiens


  • Sheldon Wiens
  • Robert Elder - robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Luke
  • Nick Schmiedeler - nick [at] nickschmiedeler [dot] com


Chelsea Bridge (old)
Posted April 1, 2017, by Nick Schmiedeler

Fun getting to this one - some serious deterioration happening - couple gaping holes and cracks, had a beaver scurry down into one of the holes right in front of me after some elevated sunbathing I'm guessing....a real concrete beauty, regardless. Sounds like Chelsea was a neat place from all the comments....pretty view of lake from up top.

Chelsea Bridge (old)
Posted February 9, 2017, by christina scott (cdabbour76 [at] gmail [dot] com)

We use to go to Chelsea bridge when I was growing up. I think there use to be a grave site around there. We use to go to the grave site and drive around in it and use to play CB Tag

Chelsea Bridge (old)
Posted December 2, 2016, by Anonymous

You click the "Add Essay" tab.

Chelsea Bridge (old)
Posted December 2, 2016, by Echo Anderson (Echo Anderson [at] Historic bridges [dot] org)


Chelsea Bridge (old)
Posted November 28, 2016, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Thanks for the correction. I will fix the essay when I get on the computer. Welcome to the forum. If you know of any historic bridges in the area that are not listed, please let us know.

Chelsea Bridge (old)
Posted November 28, 2016, by Casey Jackson (jacksonpcs [at] gmail [dot] com)

The highway is actually 177, which is often confused with 77 which is main street of El Dorado. I attended grade school at Chelsea from 1st to 6th grade which was the last year of it to be used due to unification of districts.

Chelsea Bridge (old)
Posted September 15, 2012, by Sheldon Wiens (sheldon_wiens77 [at] hotmail [dot] com)


Right where you are standing is where the streetview camera ended. Isn't that something?

Chelsea Bridge (old)
Posted August 29, 2012, by Daniel (mccoy31 [at] cox [dot] net)

This is a pic of me taken on the South approach of the old Chelsea bridge with the bridge directly behind me. It was taken January 2010. The bridge was abandoned when the resevoir was created in the late 70's or early 80's. The bridge over the creek just North of this bridge was removed completely. I would assume this was why this bridge was abandoned. The entire deck is covered in vegitation as evident in the picture. I love shooting portraits on this bridge.

Chelsea Bridge (old)
Posted April 22, 2011, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

I agree about the lack of any NBI Data. This bridge has been abandoned since ca. 1981, so any data would be older, and harder to access. I have tried looking, but I have not found this information either.

Chelsea Bridge (old)
Posted April 22, 2011, by Sheldon Wiens (sheldon_wiens77 [at] hotmail [dot] com)

I was pretty disappointed not to find any NBI info for this bridge. But I suggest this bridge was built somewhere in the early 60's similar to this one:


Chelsea Bridge (old)
Posted April 12, 2011, by Eric J. Burris (jelburris [at] hotmail [dot] com)

My wife and I found this bridge by accident (we were actually looking for Chelsea) late last fall. The bridge is in good shape. The approaches are bad: the road has washed away from the edges of the bridge bad enough you would probably lose your car. It seemed to nice to be closed, but oh well. Worth a visit!

Chelsea Bridge (old)
Posted February 15, 2011, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Yes, my car was named after Chelsea Township, where this bridge is located :-)

Chelsea Bridge (old)
Posted February 15, 2011, by K. A. Erickson

Is this the namesake for your car Robert?

Chelsea Bridge (old)
Posted February 15, 2011, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Correction to previous comment - the New Chelsea Bridge did not replace the Old Chelsea Bridge. They cross different branches of the lake, but just happen to have the same name.

Chelsea Bridge (old)
Posted February 14, 2011, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

I agree with the previous posters. Good work! Although this is one of the newer bridges on Bridgehunter, it does have a good story which highlights the transportation history of the region.

Additionally, it is a good example of what appears to have been a standardized Kansas design. Aside from being abandoned, it likely retains much of its original appearance.

Chelsea Bridge (old)
Posted February 14, 2011, by Robert Thompson (rkt [dot] engineering [at] gmail [dot] com)

Nice! Good work, Sheldon!