1 vote

Elm Creek Bridge


Photo taken by Nick Schmiedeler in December 2017


BH Photo #412497



Pony truss bridge over Elm Creek, 1.5 mi. south and 3.5 mi. east of Schroyer
Marshall County, Kansas
Intact but closed to all traffic
Built ca. 1910
Pratt pony truss
Length of largest span: 39.0 ft.
Total length: 41.0 ft.
Deck width: 14.1 ft.
Approximate latitude, longitude
+39.74737, -96.60570   (decimal degrees)
39°44'51" N, 96°36'21" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
14/705138/4402459 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Blue Rapids NE
Land survey
T. 3 S., R. 7 E., Sec. 35
Average daily traffic (as of 2007)
Inventory numbers
KS 000580897703345 (Kansas local bridge number on the National Bridge Inventory)
BH 18053 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of June 2009)
Overall condition: Poor
Superstructure condition rating: Serious (3 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Poor (4 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Poor (4 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 24.7 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com


Built during 1910s (9,727)
Closed (2,693)
Cruciform Outriggers (22)
Kansas (3,210)
Marshall County, Kansas (104)
One-lane traffic (7,625)
Owned by county (20,977)
Pin-connected (3,964)
Pony truss (16,354)
Pratt pony truss (3,688)
Pratt truss (9,445)
Span length 25-50 feet (15,768)
Total length 25-50 feet (11,252)
Truss (33,252)
Wooden deck (6,100)

Update Log 

  • December 6, 2017: Updated by Robert Elder: Closed
  • December 3, 2017: Updated by Christopher Finigan: Added category "Pin-connected"
  • December 2, 2017: New photos from Nick Schmiedeler


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


Elm Creek Bridge
Posted June 20, 2019, by Art S. (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)

Rolled verticals and cruciform outriggers.

Elm Creek Bridge
Posted December 6, 2017, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

In some respects I am almost glad when these bridges get closed. Closure is almost a relief given the string of oversized vehicle attacks we've had in the last few years.

This bridge is still public apparently, but in Kansas many bridges like this get transferred to private ownership. Ironically, being transferred to private ownership has probably saved several bridges from demolition and replacement (looking at you Clarks Creek Whipple Truss).

Although these private bridges will eventually collapse, at least the transfer of ownership might buy them a few years or if were lucky a few decades.

The only downside to closure of course is a lack of maintenance. Yet, how many of these old iron bridges are really getting maintained?

Elm Creek Bridge
Posted December 6, 2017, by Nick Schmiedeler (nick [at] nickschmiedeler [dot] com)

Status on this one also does need to be changed to "closed"....bit of a rough road approaching from east, and impossible from west, large mound and cave-in as mentioned preventing any possible vehicle crossing, sketchy at best on foot or bike

Elm Creek Bridge
Posted December 2, 2017, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

That is good to know. This is definitely a bridge that deserves to be preserved. As far as I am concerned any bridge with cruciform members is nationally significant.

Thanks for doing a field visit to this one. We would not have known about those cruciform outriggers had you not made the trek.

Elm Creek Bridge
Posted December 2, 2017, by Nick Schmiedeler (nick [at] nickschmiedeler [dot] com)

Good stuff, Robert - thanks. Believe if that cavern were filled in, it would still be good to go...solid for what it is

Elm Creek Bridge
Posted December 2, 2017, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

I cannot determine a builder for certain, but if I had to take a wild guess, I would lean towards the Missouri Valley Bridge & Iron Works. MVB used cruciform outriggers frequently (as did other companies in the 1870s and 1880s). But,the seem to have continued using them for several years afterward, perhaps as late as ca. 1900. On the other hand, King and WIBC used cruciform iron as well. There is at least one King iron truss in Marshall County.

My guess is that this particular bridge was built ca. 1880-1900. It could even be a late 1870s bridge. On the other hand, if MVB was responsible, it might be an 1890s bridge.

Now, let us look at those cruciform iron outriggers in detail...

Note that at least one of these outriggers has been bent. This clearly indicates one of the benefits of wrought iron. Wrought iron can bend without breaking. Had the bent outrigger been cast iron, it would have shattered, not bent.

One of the outriggers has been split - but perhaps a restoration could fix that. Bridges with cruciform outriggers (or cruciform iron in general) are rare today. This bridge has high significance despite its relatively small size.

Elm Creek Bridge
Posted December 2, 2017, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

I think that I see cruciform outriggers...

Elm Creek Bridge
Posted December 2, 2017, by Nick Schmiedeler (nick [at] nickschmiedeler [dot] com)

Yes....love this one. NOT OPEN to traffic whatsoever, can get to it only on closed road to east. Completely caving in/erosion thing happening on west side, gigantic gap, exposing entire abutment woodwork. Still standing, and straight, crossing is very precarious, especially exit on that crumbling west end. Would love to post video I took but still not understanding embedding method, last few youtube links I've tried have failed....help?