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Abandoned BMS - Cross Power Bridge

Photos 

Cross Power Bridge

Eastern portal

Photo taken by Michael Quiet in August 2017

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BH Photo #400595

Map 

Description 

This is a heavily/unusually modified 2 span skewed Whipple through truss that is among the oldest of its type remaining in the country, although the historical integrity has been critically compromised with this span, it is still notable for whats left of it and also the unusually method of rehabilitation

This bridge was originally built in 1869 to connect the Berlin Mills Railroad with Cascade, NH. It would receive maintenance in 1924 with the portal bracing being replaced and the substructure being redone in concrete.

In 1946 Elwyn E. Seelye & Co. did a Rehabilitation/strengthening of the bridge. Prehaps because of wartime constraints on steel a complete rebuild was not practical, leading to a more unorthodox method for its rehabilitation. The entire upper chord and endposts were encased in a steel tube and welded shut, several tension members had additional steel welded to them, the footing was encased in concrete, the entirety of the overhead & portal bracing was replaced with plain steel tubing, and a supplemental lower chord was added.

Whats left (visually) of the original bridge is the truss web verticals and diagonals. The verticals are standard 4 piece Phoenix columns , and it looks like the diagonals are original (with some having added material). The lower chord is still original, with pin connections at the bottom with no changes visible. It appears that the floorbeams are also authentic, as they are riveted and suspended from the lower chord.

The bridge appears to be quite safe as it carries several pipes across the Androscoggin, with new ones being added recently. Its unknown exactly when rail service ceased across this bridge, but the rails have long since been removed and wood planks added to make a driving surface.

Facts 

Overview
2 span skewed Whipple through truss bridge over Androscoggin River on former Berlin Mills Railway
Location
Berlin, Coos County, New Hampshire
Status
Closed
History
Built 1869; Rehabilitated 1924; Strengthened 1944-1946; Abandoned 2006
Builders
- Elwyn E. Seelye & Co. of New York City, New York (1944-46 Strengthening)
- Phoenix Iron Co. of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Railroads
- Berlin Mills Railway (BMS)
- St. Lawrence & Atlantic Railroad (SLR)
Design
2 span skewed Whipple through truss
Dimensions
Length of largest span: 140.0 ft.
Total length: 280.0 ft.
Deck width: 12.0 ft.
Approximate latitude, longitude
+44.45451, -71.18640   (decimal degrees)
44°27'16" N, 71°11'11" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
19/326050/4924681 (zone/easting/northing)
Inventory number
BH 78093 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • August 22, 2017: Updated by Christopher Finigan: Added category "Phoenix columns"
  • August 22, 2017: Added by Michael Quiet

Sources 

  • Michael Quiet - mquiet [at] gmail [dot] com

Comments 

Abandoned BMS - Cross Power Bridge
Posted August 23, 2017, by Michael Quiet (mquiet [at] gmail [dot] com)

Thank you all! I too share the amazement in these finds, especially since they had managed to evade any sort of historical documentation over the years. These bridges are incredibly significant on a state, regional, and national level, so it still shocks me that no one knew about them!

Cos County turned out to be quite a treat, as there were several significant undocumented bridges aside from the already documented, but noteworthy, ones. Its a good reminder that not all the good bridges have been documented yet...There are still treasures to be had :)

Abandoned BMS - Cross Power Bridge
Posted August 22, 2017, by John Marvig

I guess I now have a reason to visit New Hampshire. The 3 railroad trusses near this location are absolutely gorgeous. Nice work!!!

Abandoned BMS - Cross Power Bridge
Posted August 22, 2017, by Dana and Kay Klein

Michael, Got to say YOU ROCK DUDE! Awesome survivor , 1869 bridges don't get found every day!

Abandoned BMS - Cross Power Bridge
Posted August 22, 2017, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

WOW! Just WOW! Yes, this one is going on the bucket list!

Abandoned BMS - Cross Power Bridge
Posted August 22, 2017, by Art S. (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)

Michael,

That's a hell of a find! Thanks for posting!

Regards,

Art S.