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Smoky Hill River Old Channel Bridge

Map 

Street View 

Description 

This bridge is on private property. As a courtesy to the landowner, please do not attempt to visit without permission. Landowner information will not be disseminated through this website.

Facts 

Overview
Abandoned Pratt through truss bridge over Smoky Hill River Old Channel on Private Road (old alignment)
Location
Saline County, Kansas
Status
Derelict/abandoned
History
Moved to current location in 1946. Original location is unknown.
Builder
- Missouri Valley Bridge & Iron Co. of Leavenworth, Kansas
Design
Pratt through truss
Approximate latitude, longitude
+38.76816, -97.57594   (decimal degrees)
38°46'05" N, 97°34'33" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
14/623716/4292012 (zone/easting/northing)
Inventory number
BH 73067 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • November 9, 2016: Updated by Robert Elder: Added category "Missouri Valley Bridge & Iron Co."
  • September 22, 2016: Updated by Robert Elder: Edited history - moved in 1946.
  • September 14, 2016: Updated by Robert Elder: Bridge is owned privately.
  • August 4, 2016: New Street View added by Robert Elder

Sources 

  • Robert Elder - robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com

Comments 

Smoky Hill River Old Channel Bridge
Posted July 7, 2017, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Oh, yeah, I never did ask his permission to upload them...

Smoky Hill River Old Channel Bridge
Posted July 7, 2017, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Hey Robert... What ever happened to those pics you took of this one?? ;-)

Smoky Hill River Old Channel Bridge
Posted November 10, 2016, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Yes, he let me take photos. I just haven't had a chance to upload them yet. We had a good discussion about this bridge as well.

Smoky Hill River Old Channel Bridge
Posted November 10, 2016, by Nick Schmiedeler

Robert - glad to see you back in KS. Did he not allow you to take any photos? I do not see them if they are here. Thanks for new info

Smoky Hill River Old Channel Bridge
Posted November 9, 2016, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Make that "Illinois USA".

Smoky Hill River Old Channel Bridge
Posted November 9, 2016, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

I field visited this bridge on Tuesday, November 8th 2016 with landowner permission. It was built in 1892 by the Missouri Valley Bridge and Iron Company and moved here in the 1940s. The bridge features angled lattice portal bracing, which is commonly found on bridges by this firm.

The endposts are stamped "Jones and Laughlins". Two of the floorbeams have been replaced and are stamped "Illinois". The deck stringers are stamped "Illionois USA".

The vertical members are laced paired channels. I found no brands on them.

Smoky Hill River Old Channel Bridge
Posted October 2, 2016, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

I have spoken with the landowner. He has given me permission to visit this bridge. I hope to meet him and learn more about the bridge. I didn't realize that it was private when I added it. It took me some time to figure out who owns it.

I still think it looks CBW esque. Will find out soon enough.

Smoky Hill River Old Channel Bridge
Posted September 14, 2016, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

I have good news and bad news concerning this bridge.

Good news: A neighbor just informed me that the bridge is still standing.

Bad news: It is listing badly and in danger of collapse.

Smoky Hill River Old Channel Bridge
Posted September 10, 2016, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

I suspect that this bridge may be private now that Water Well Road has been moved south. I am going to try to find out who owns it before attempting to visit. Always check with the landowner...

Smoky Hill River Old Channel Bridge
Posted August 21, 2016, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Anthony:

That is an interesting thought about a scrapper. The USA has lost a few bridges to scrap thieves. Anyone caught scrapping out a bridge needs to be punished as harshly as the law allows. Not only do scrappers destroy irreplaceable bridges, they also put the public at risk.

Smoky Hill River Old Channel Bridge
Posted August 20, 2016, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

I hope it was just the flooding that got the pony trusses. I am going to see what can be done to save these through trusses.

One bridge has been relocated to the old Channel of the Smoky Hill River in Salina already. Hopefully it will set a precedent for preservation of the survivors

Smoky Hill River Old Channel Bridge
Posted August 20, 2016, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Robert, I was looking at the large number of abandoned trusses in Saline County. However, when I started looking at the satellite views I noticed nearly all of the ponies are gone. Ripped out with no replacements, I wonder if the county has a scrapper that has been removing them. I hope that the thru trusses are safe, and perhaps too much of a challenge for them to mess with!

Smoky Hill River Old Channel Bridge
Posted August 5, 2016, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Yes, the entire state of Indiana is on my bucket list. Also, if you are planning to be in Kansas at any time, please let me know.

I believe that A.M. Blodgett was a founder, or at least a partner in Kansas City Bridge & Iron, but I would want to check some primary sources to confirm that. As you well know, many of our bridge companies changed presidents, partners and names throughout their existence. Sometimes one can look at old bridges and see features that look to have been "borrowed" from earlier companies...ie pony trusses in Kansas and Missouri with cruciform outrigers...

Smoky Hill River Old Channel Bridge
Posted August 5, 2016, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Robert, WHEN you come to Indiana I would be delighted to meet up with you and tour some of the state's finest!

And a further comment on the more localized builders in the Kansas area... I get the feeling that Blodgett was a bigger player than what is documented. I've seen pics of many unlabeled spans in that part of the country that bear resemblance to known AMB structures. Also, didn't I read somewhere that he was originally associated with the Kansas City B&I Company?

Smoky Hill River Old Channel Bridge
Posted August 5, 2016, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Well, we shall see. The last known remaining CBW in Kansas collapsed in 2010.

There appears to be some quarrying activity in the area, and Water Well Road has been moved a bit farther from the bridge as part of an improvement project. This bridge is also on the outskirts of Salina, so one must consider the impact of possible development.

If the bridge has indeed sat here since ca.1880, it would be a shame to lose it now.

Smoky Hill River Old Channel Bridge
Posted August 4, 2016, by ArtS (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)

Robert,

If its a CBW, and its at risk, I'm in!

Regards,

Art S.

Smoky Hill River Old Channel Bridge
Posted August 4, 2016, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Also, Anthony, if you get a chance to go West to look at bridges, Kansas will not disappoint. Hopefully we can still say that 100 years from now. You should definitely make the trip.

One thing I have observed is that Eastern bridge companies (i.e. those East of the Mississippi) frequently built bridges in the West. WIBC, Canton, King, American spans, were very common West of the Mississippi and CBW, Massillon and Bellfontaine, P.E. Lane, etc made cameo appearances. Yet at the same time, Western bridge companies were also consuming a large share of the market in Kansas and neighboring states by the late 1870s to mid 1880s.

Thus, states like Kansas do not have the great numbers of spans built by Eastern firms that you would see back East. It would appear that the Eastern firms must have had to compete with Western firms such as the Missouri Valley Bridge and Iron Works, Kansas City Bridge and Iron Works, Midland Bridge Co. Western Bridge Co., Marsh Engineering, A.M. Blodgett, Wayland, Walter Sharp, Topeka Bridge and Iron, etc. Hence, the rarity of CBW, etc in Kansas. Yet, when you start poking around in Kansas, you never know what is going to turn up due to all of the Western firms that operated here.

Kansas will never again have large numbers of bridges built by any of the above firms, but we seem to have a few spans built by most of the above. It is this diverse mix of companies that makes Bridgehunting here so much fun, even though we will never have the truss density observed in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, etc. This is to say nothing of our "Frankenbridges" (apologies to Nathan Holth), designed by creative County Engineers.

Now if I can get to Indiana again someday...maybe I could find a Triple Whipple and lots of other good stuff.

Smoky Hill River Old Channel Bridge
Posted August 4, 2016, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Even if it's not a Columbia... And I loves me a CBW span as much as the next Bridgehunter out there... I DO think it's definitely an older bridge.

If I only had the time and money I would go West young man!

Smoky Hill River Old Channel Bridge
Posted August 4, 2016, by ArtS (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)

Thanks Robert... I thought the same thing regarding CBW but I figured it was just me. Then you posted and I spent one and a half hours trying to find more info to no avail... :^)

Oh well.

Regards,

Art S.