Yep... Looks RR to me as well!
That has been my suspicion. Rail to road.
Historicaerials shows this bridge in 1958 as a spur of the St. Louis-San Fransisco Railroad, but later as a road bridge.
If I recall correctly, this bridge used to have a pigtail ramp on the East end. Of course, I was never able to get very close to it so I might be misremembering. If I am correct about the pigtail ramp, then that would certainly indicate vehicle use.
That's what I was looking for, Nathan. I saw several references to the Neosho power plant but couldn't figure out if it was by the river or the town of Neosho. Good old Parsons Sun.
Gas generators make sense considering the large amount of gas in the ground around here. This raises the question of why they needed a rail bridge if not to move coal. They ran a rail line to the original plant site but putting up a bridge just to build on the other side of the river seems like a lot of expense. The people I knew who might remember are long gone.
Not sure if I am missing something obvious in this conversation, but it appears that in 2012 a power plant called the Neosho Steam Electric Station was removed off Wallace Road south of US-400 along the Neosho River... that would appear to reference a location near this bridge. Is that was everyone is wondering about?
The recently demolished plant was newer than the bridge; likely if the bridge is associated with the power plants it was the 1930s ones:
Westar Energy decided last year that to be more efficient, the plant, on which construction began in 1953 and operations began in 1954, would no longer be used to generate electricity.
Like the two other gas-powered steam electric stations built on the east side of the Neosho River in the 1930s, and later razed, the newer station on the west side of the river has been decommissioned.
This appears to have been the site of a power plant, located between the lake and the river. I don't see any trace of it now other than some disturbed ground. It's hard to find info on what was here, what became of it, or even a name.
Guessing, KS added a lot of generating capacity in the 1920s and closed down a number of older plants over the last 30 years as utility companies consolidated. From the air currently it looks like switching gear in the enclosures.
Now that the plant has closed, I wonder if the bridge could be in danger of demolition. Thankfully, the Neosho River is not considered navigable, so keeping the river free of pylons is less critical from the Federal Government point of view.
Kansas Army Ammunition Plant, opened 1942, closed 2005.
HAER does not mention a power generating facility associated with the plant.
Ammunition plant? Okay, that explains all of the fences and no trespassing signs...
Taking a look at the old Quadrangle map, it shows a rail line going over the bridge. Used to be a power plant there, most likely for the old Kansas Ammunition Plat to the west of there. Also, there is evidence that the line continued into the plant as well.
The old topo maps on Historic Aerials are a bit ambiguous...
Old railroad bridge?