2 votes

West Branch Lyon Creek Bridge


Photo taken by Nick Schmiedeler in December 2017


BH Photo #413614


Street View 


Pony truss bridge over West Branch, 0.5 mi. south and 0.5 mi. west of Woodbine
Dickinson County, Kansas
Open to traffic
Built ca. 1910
- Western Bridge & Construction Co. of Omaha, Nebraska
Pratt pony truss
Span length: 48.9 ft.
Total length: 48.9 ft.
Deck width: 15.7 ft.
Eligible for the National Register of Historic Places
Approximate latitude, longitude
+38.78347, -96.97055   (decimal degrees)
38°47'00" N, 96°58'14" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
14/676275/4294704 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Land survey
T. 14 S., R. 4 E., Sec. 34
Average daily traffic (as of 2011)
Inventory numbers
KS 000210859604680 (Kansas local bridge number on the National Bridge Inventory)
BH 17679 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of February 2018)
Overall condition: Poor
Superstructure condition rating: Poor (4 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Poor (4 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 21.2 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • December 15, 2017: New photos from Nick Schmiedeler
  • March 18, 2015: Updated by Robert Elder: Added creek name and design.
  • March 18, 2015: New Street View added by Sheldon Wiens


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


West Branch Lyon Creek Bridge
Posted June 10, 2020, by Nicole Beck (prairieroads06 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

Bridge closed first week of June 2020 following annual inspection of fracture critical bridges, according to Abilene Reflector Chronicle on June 10, 2020. "...County officials have heard from residents who are "adamant" they want that bridge replaced. County officials will look into the Kansas Department of Transportation's "off road bridge" program for some funding."

May be last call for this bridge.

West Branch Lyon Creek Bridge
Posted December 15, 2017, by Nick Schmiedeler (nick [at] nickschmiedeler [dot] com)

Yeah Robert, would agree, those near-empty pins really caught my eye, Took a fun little video clip also walking across the bridge, grabbing all of the loose/broken bars, lifting them up, dropping them back down on their one connected point, there are several of those, this bridge really is a mess but think it indeed is worth preserving, still couldn't believe the plaque was attached, hardly ever see those anymore

West Branch Lyon Creek Bridge
Posted December 15, 2017, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Now that I have looked through Nick's photographs of this bridge, I have a few thoughts about it.

First I will start by saying that the Kansas default date of Circa 1910 is probably not too far off. Pin connected bridges were still being built in rural areas of Kansas long after they had fallen out of favor in the urban environments of the Northeastern United States. That being said, even in Kansas the pin-connected era had pretty well come to a close by 1915.

Thus, I would seriously doubt that this bridge was built anytime after 1915. In addition, the Kansas default date of 1910 often indicates pre 1910. If the company that built this bridge was indeed founded in 1907 then logic would dictate that this bridge was built sometime between 1907 and 1915.

The construction of this bridge is also rather interesting. Some of the eye bars and counters appear as if they might be loop forged instead of punched. Thus, I suspect some components of this bridge might be wrought iron. Wrought iron have largely been replaced by Steel by about 1900.

So, does this bridge have a few wrought iron components? Does this bridge represent a very late use of wrought iron? Or, might this bridge have been put together with some older components that predate the bridge by several years? This would not be a surprise given the fact that some companies had a fairly large stockpile of iron.

I have to admit, that large pin does look kind of funny holding only one counter. There is no shortage of space on that pin!

West Branch Lyon Creek Bridge
Posted December 15, 2017, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)


Thanks as always for making a field visit. I I'm looking forward to seeing your photographs of this bridge. The Google Street View is nice but it doesn't always capture the fine details of a bridge.

I don't know if this bridge is facing any immediate demolition threats or not. This one would be easy to preserve due to its small size and given the obscure builder I believe it should receive a higher priority for preservation.

Interestingly, the Vane Road Bridge over Carry Creek a few miles north of this one was actually scheduled for demolition back in the 1980s. Somehow it got put off and the bridge was still carrying traffic in the 1990s. Today it is closed.

West Branch Lyon Creek Bridge
Posted December 15, 2017, by Nick Schmiedeler (nick [at] nickschmiedeler [dot] com)

soooo...not seeing anywhere in description of this one, but the plaque on the east end says BUILT BY THE WESTERN BRIDGE & CONSTRUCTION CO, OMAHA. NEB.....makes it the only one in KS, yes??....and one of only 16 left in U.S. known? Thing is a wreck, but surviving!! Fun seeing this one today....company in biz 1907-1934 I believe, this has to be one of their early ones

West Branch Lyon Creek Bridge
Posted December 28, 2016, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

If you look closely on Streetview, you will notice that this bridge has multiple markings and notes written on it by inspectors.

According to the NBI, this bridge is NRHP Eligible. I wish that I had known about it when I lived a few miles away. I still want to visit and document it.

KHRI Link:


West Branch Lyon Creek Bridge
Posted March 18, 2015, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

As an additional thought, this bridge may pre-date the Kansas default date of 1910. I would guess that it was built sometime between 1890-1910.

West Branch Lyon Creek Bridge
Posted March 18, 2015, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Thanks to Sheldon for adding the Streetview. I have driven on nearby Union Road, but I did not realize there was a nice pony truss down this road.