The new Chippewa River with its four pratt deck truss main spans each totaling 180 feet in length, supported by stone piers and abutments, and approached by deck plate girders, one on the west side and two on the east is by far the biggest and heaviest built of the three bridges. Started in 1911 and completed August of 1912, it is nothing short of massive, and was meant to carry mainline traffic on the new alignment.
Passenger trains could whip around the curve approaching this bridge at nearly 75 MPH at times.
1870-The Western Wisconsin Railway arrives at Eau Claire and builds massive wood truss structures over both the Eau Claire and Chippewa Rivers.
1880/1- both the Chippewa River Bridge and the Eau Claire River Bridge are rebuilt
1898-The Eau Claire River Bridge is completely rebuilt, and new approaches added to the Chippewa River Bridge
1901-The Eau Claire River bridge becomes a gauntlet, line between Yukon Jct and Altoona is double tracked
1911-work begins on a new high speed double track bypass to the single track high bridge over the Chippewa River. Work begins on a new double track bridge about 1000 yards upstream of the current bridge (600 yards above the dam)
August 6th 1912-a new 2.15 mile double track line built with high speed curves and grades opens, allowing trains to travel at a maximum of 60 miles per hour through Eau Claire, until the Eau Claire River Bridge. The new bridge significantly cuts the traffic on the old one.
1914-A double track line between Milwaukee and St. Paul is completed, allowing for high speed passenger and freight travel between the two cities, going through Eau Claire along the way.
1916-Plans for a second bridge parallel to the existing one over the Eau Claire river are brought to life, but are later deemed too expensive
1991-The double track is completely removed
1992-old Chippewa River Bridge abandoned
1995-Chicago & Northwestern is swallowed by Union Pacific
2007-Excel Energy purchases old Chippewa River Bridge from Union Pacific due to demolition plans, donates it to Eau Claire to save their gas line
2013-Old Chippewa River Bridge to become a trail