This abandoned Chicago Burlington & Quincy Railroad bridge spans the Republican River within sight of the Republican River Pegram Truss Bridge. While the Pegram Truss has been converted to vehicular traffic and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this bridge has yet to be recognized. Unlike the Pegram truss, it does not recieve maintenance.
Consequently, the future of this bridge must be considered to be uncertain. This is of particular concern since another abandoned Republican River railroad bridge at Clyde disappeared recently. Although we may not be able to save every historic bridge in the United States, this bridge is worthy of preservation. I base my judgement on several factors.
1. The Builder:
This bridge was constructed by a relatively obscure company; The Lassig Bridge & Iron Works of Chicago, Ilinois. This is one of perhaps only a very small number of extant truss bridges that appears to have been built exclusively by the LB&IW. Another is located in King County, Washington. http://www.trainmuseum.org/Bridge35.asp
The other five extant LB&IW spans documented on Bridgehunter are either deck plate girders, or are truss bridges erected by a variety of companies.
2. Age and Size:
The bridge was constructed pre-1900 when several companies, including the LB&IW were consolidated into the American Bridge Co. Additionally, most pre-1895 bridges have less than three through spans.
3. Specific features:
The bridge has a unique substructure which features massive girders as well as diagonal eyebars. These members can be seen in photograph 11 on this page.
This bridge does not appear to have been altered significantly, with the possible exception of the replacement of the pylons. Thus, the bridge may provide good examples of many characteristics of a LB&IW span. Three plaques remain on the bridge, although two have been damaged.
5. Its proximity to other truss bridges:
There are two triple span bridges at this location, the other being the afforementioned 1893 Pegram Truss, which also features two Lattice trusses. This is a site of great importance for any bridgehunter. Several other truss bridges of various designs, including two bowstrings are also located in Cloud County and nearby Republic County. This is a collection of structures that effectively constitutes an open air bridge museum.
6. Its appreciation by locals:
The presence and use of a small parking area is indicative of the appreciation of this bridge by local residents.
The loss of this bridge,through either demolition or neglect would remove an important part of the history of American bridge engineering.