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MBTA - Merrimack River Bridge (Haverhill)

Map 

Street View 

Description 

"The Merrimack River Bridge is a Warren truss with verticals, fabricated by the Bethlehem Steel Bridge Company in its Steelton, Pennsylvania plant in 1920. The structure consists of four deck trusses, one thru truss, and four deck plate girder bridges. Three of the deck trusses are located to the south of the thru truss, while the other deck truss and the deck plate girder bridges are located to the north. Four of the trusses are composed of 8 panels while one, on the south side has only 6 panels. It is interesting to note the structural configuration of the deck trusses: they are supported on upper cord bearings connected to the lower cord by a tension diagonal. The structure remains in essentially unaltered, original condition, and it is a particularly fine example of early-20th century, riveted truss technology built in response to the increased rail live loadings. The bridge is supported by five cutwater piers in granite blocks set in flemish bond, according to Peter Molloy. The piers date to the non-extant, original 1880 pin-connected, thru truss bridge fabricated by the Phoenix Steel Company. The piers are in particularly good condition and are constructed with sloping, icebreaker-type cutwaters on the upstream face." - Massachusetts Historical Commission (P. Blair, P. Lazrus, MBTA Historical Property Survey, 10/1988)

Facts 

Overview
Warren through truss bridge over Merrimack River on MBTA Haverhill Line
Location
Haverhill, Essex County, Massachusetts
Status
Open to traffic
Future prospects
Slated for a $110 Million demolition and replacement project.
History
Built 1919
Builder
- Bethlehem Steel Co. of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Railroads
- Amtrak (AMTK)
- Boston & Maine Railroad (B&M; BM)
- Commuter Rail
- Guilford Rail System (GRS)
- Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA)
- Pan Am Railways (PAR)
- Springfield Terminal Railway (ST)
Design
Warren through truss main span, and Warren deck truss approach spans, all with riveted connections.
Dimensions
Length of largest span: 180.0 ft.
Total length: 1,929.0 ft.
Deck width: 17.0 ft.
Also called
Amtrak Merrimack River Bridge (Haverhill)
BM - Merrimack River Bridge
B&M Western Route Bridge No. 32.68
B&M Western Route Bridge No. 35
Approximate latitude, longitude
+42.77070, -71.08630   (decimal degrees)
42°46'15" N, 71°05'11" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
19/329315/4737462 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Haverhill
Inventory number
BH 48531 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • February 2, 2015: Updated by Ian Martin: Added builder, dimensions, & other info. from MHC listing
  • November 7, 2013: New Street View added by J.P.
  • March 29, 2011: Added by Nathan Holth

Related Bridges 

Sources 

Comments 

Haverhill Railroad Bridge
Posted March 29, 2011, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

Got a loose $110 Million? Why spend a portion of it to repair a historic bridge when instead you can blow it all on a project to demolish and replace a beautiful, heavy duty riveted railroad truss bridge?