The Wisconsin & Southern Railroad owns this 22 span, combination deck/plate girder deck truss bridge that crosses Lake Wisconsin (part of the Wisconsin River) between Merrimac and Okee. The span is 1,729 feet in length and is a part of the historic mainline that ran from Madison to Sparta on the old Chicago & Northwestern Railway. (The span is parallel to the Colsac III ferry.)
The same right-of-way crosses several other historic bridges that are documented here, including the Baraboo Street Bridge, Goette Road Bridge, Highway 136 CNW Bridge, Chestnut Street Bridge, Mill Street Bridge and the Viaduct Road Bridge. (The Viaduct Road bridge actually shows two build dates because it was widened in 1896 to accommodate a second track. The second track was removed several years ago.)
Bridge 334 was built with a single track, however, the span was modified to have a second main line track added, using a gauntlet bridge, and some of the piers were originally poured with the intention of adding a second track. The second track was never built.
A tip o' the hat to Ken Lucht of the Wisconsin & Southern Railroad for his help in expanding our knowledge and understanding of this historic structure!
Follow the links below to see a Wisconsin & Southern train crossing the bridge and to see the Circus World Museum's 2000 Circus Train crossing the bridge.)
"If you don't believe me,..."
I believe you. The same type geniuses are building the 'Bullet train' in California for $100B. Nothing ever changes.
Also look up the Tennessee-Tom Bigby Canal. America has always had a taste for pork.
The Federal Government took over the Green Bay and Mississippi Canal Company in 1870 and ran the entire system until it abandoned the Wisconsin River and Upper Fox River portion in 1951. The Lower Fox River section continued to be operated by the Army Corps of Engineers until the 1980's.
1) The swing span is the third span out from the northwest shore. Just checked it out on Yahoo Maps.
2) Quite true "The Wisconsin was never deep enough to handle commercial boat traffic". But that did not prevent the Federal Government from spending millions of dollars per year to maintain the Fox-Wisconsin waterway.
If you don't believe me, take a look at the dam at Prairie du Sac. You will see a large, now disused navigation lock at the west end. If there was no navigation in the river, why was it put there?
Dude, you have a couple of discrepancies regarding this bridge. It is owned by the Union Pacific and LEASED to the WSOR. This is a FIXED bridge-no moving spans. The center span was made beefier to handle the entire weight of a train on the entire formerly double tracked bridge. The reason the bottom beam is painted yellow is so the drunk boaters, on Lake Wisconsin, don't hit it. They do anyway. Before the Wisconsin River was dammed up at Prairie du Sac, the water level was 15 feet lower and any traffic could pass beneath the center span. The Wisconsin was never deep enough to handle commercial boat traffic. You should ask about the Great Railroad Tie hiest from this line. LOL!
A rather bizarre story about this bridge-years ago, a group of partyers was out boating on the river after dark & ran into the lattice section at high speed, decapitating the driver.