2 votes

Beaver Creek Bridge


Iowa Department of Transportation


BH Photo #270809


During War II the War Department developed a "Priorities Critical List" of materials deemed essential to the war effort. As a component of almost every major piece of war materiel, steel was, of course, included on the list, making the construction of steel bridges problematic for Iowa's counties. In response, most of the counties reverted to timber construction for their small-scale bridges, and timber pile bridges outnumbered all other types by a substantial margin in the 1940s. Crawford County, too, relied on timber construction, until heavy flooding in May 1945 washed out 27 bridges and culverts in the county. The county board of supervisors resolved to build new bridges using emergency funds, purchasing several steel superstructures from the Des Moines Steel Company as replacement spans. These structures featured a bowstring arch-truss configuration, with the upper chord in compression and the lower chord in tension to resist the springing action of the curved upper chord (although the all-riveted construction made this action structurally indeterminate). The trusses employed only small-profile steel angles for the web members. They employed angled gusset plates to which the vertical and diagonal members were riveted to the chords. Each web was fabricated in the shop in two halves and field-bolted at the site by a county work force. The trusses were carried by relatively simple bearing shoes, and angle outriders provided lateral support for the truss webs. The Beaver Creek Bridge northwest of Schleswig was one of several such hybrid trusses build by Crawford County during the war years. Comprised of the riveted truss, supported by a timber substructure, the Beaver Creek Bridge remains in unaltered condition today. It, like the five other, almost identical spans that remain in Crawford County, is a noteworthy example of wartime bridge construction in Iowa [adapted from Fraser 1993].


Bowstring pony truss bridge over Beaver Creek on 180th Street
Crawford County, Iowa
In storage
Built 1945
- Des Moines Steel Co. of Des Moines, Iowa
- H. Gene McKeown of Council Bluffs
Bowstring pony truss
Length of largest span: 76.1 ft.
Total length: 135.2 ft.
Deck width: 17.7 ft.
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on June 25, 1998
Approximate latitude, longitude
+42.19500, -95.51735   (decimal degrees)
42°11'42" N, 95°31'02" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/292150/4674494 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Land survey
T. 85 N., R. 40 W., Sec. 9
Average daily traffic (as of 2012)
Inventory numbers
NRHP 98000799 (National Register of Historic Places reference number)
IA 130550 (Iowa bridge number)
BH 13224 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of April 2016)
Overall condition: Poor
Superstructure condition rating: Poor (4 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Poor (4 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 27 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • June 28, 2021: Updated by Luke: Updated status to in storage
  • April 9, 2020: New photo from Geoff Hubbs
  • August 3, 2016: Updated by Kevin Skow: Update based on satellite imagery. Bridge is closed.
  • November 22, 2013: New photo from Luke Harden



Beaver Creek Bridge
Posted June 29, 2021, by Art S. (Asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)

That would make a great roof! :^)

Actually, its unfortunate that it was retired and it would be wise if it was reused as a bridge, it does look to be in great shape.

Beaver Creek Bridge
Posted June 28, 2021, by Christy Rickers (gutevuss [at] gmail [dot] com)

It was damaged beyond repair for vehicle traffic. Yes, our county crew moved it carefully. They do great work. We sure hope someone decides to use it for pedestrian traffic.

Beaver Creek Bridge
Posted June 28, 2021, by Luke

Seconded. As an Iowan and an avid, albeit amateur/recreational cyclist,this historic bridge deserves to be preserved on a local bike trail.

Beaver Creek Bridge
Posted June 28, 2021, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)


It looks like the bridge was removed carefully and as such the bridge is not damaged. The design of this bridge and the fact that it honestly doesn't look to be in very bad condition would lend itself well to a restoration and reuse in a new location for pedestrian use. I hope a new home can be found for this bridge!

Beaver Creek Bridge
Posted June 28, 2021, by Christy Rickers (gutevuss [at] gmail [dot] com)

The bridge has been replaced and now the poor thing is sitting in the county yard by Schleswig.

Beaver Creek Bridge
Posted November 20, 2017, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

Its going to be replaced but sounds like the trusses go in storage for reuse: http://www.nonpareilonline.com/news/iowa/historic-beaver-cre...

Beaver Creek Bridge
Posted May 10, 2017, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Oh, but it can be fixed! And should be fixed!

As an example of Iowa's "Second generation" of Bowstring truss bridges, this is a bridge that should be preserved!

Beaver Creek Bridge
Posted May 9, 2017, by Christy Rickers (gutevuss [at] wildblue [dot] net)

The Co. Engineer's name is Assman - pronounced oz-man. I am a member of the local historic preservation group and these bridges are very dear to me. I have written letters to local papers asking the Board of Supervisors to carefully think about what to do with this bridge. The bridge was evaluated as unstable and there is no way to fix it. Believe me - I begged to have it fixed! The spans are warped and there is no way to fix this old metal. Have been waiting for months but have not heard of any plans for its replacement or removal. It cannot be just scrapped, but it could possibly be moved. I kind of hope it is just left alone at this point.

Beaver Creek Bridge
Posted August 12, 2016, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Should have figured it was a newspaper typo and therefore too good to be true...

Beaver Creek Bridge
Posted August 12, 2016, by Julie Bowers (jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Mr. Passman, the County Engineer for Crawford County is in the same boat as most county engineers in Iowa. The bridge doesn't meet the standards of the big trucks and combines and they won't put money into preservation for these types of bridges. They just won't.

There are ways to save these trusses.

I was the one that Jason is referring too when he posts on the Workin' Bridges page. There are bridges that can be saved and some that can't but I know one way that won't work is to call these folks names and I also know that no one posts on his posts on our page. If we can help save it we will but we have a lot of bridges that do come in on all stats for our analysis

However there is one county engineer in Iowa who has worked for years to find ways to save these bridges. This man will be the new president for the national engineers association and we are starting to get some leads from him from county engineers looking for information on real numbers for preservation that take many factors into account including feasibility, funding, and future prospects.

Beaver Creek Bridge
Posted August 11, 2016, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Sorry Mr. ASSman... We don't agree with you closed-minded assessment!

Beaver Creek Bridge
Posted August 11, 2016, by Jason Smith (flensburg [dot] bridgehunter [dot] av [at] googlemail [dot] com)


If you wish to state your case with Crawford County, be my guest. I personally think the bridge can be repaired as one panel needs fixing and that's it. It just annoys me when someone responds with blowing the bridge up when I posted the article with a question for a forum on fb recently, which I think is BS. Good luck if you wish to confront the engineer about this. ;-)


Beaver Creek Bridge
Posted August 11, 2016, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

Jason, read the article closer. The bridge's future is hardly in doubt, unless the doubt is which scrapyard the bridge is destined for. I find the county's statement that the bridge "cannot be repaired" to be very annoying becuase that is an untrue statement. Damaged trusses can be repaired. Maybe its not "feasible and prudent" to meet a project need, but to just say flat out its not possible to repair for light vehicular traffic is untrue. Bridges collapsed into a river can still be repaired. Maybe not cheaply, but it is possible. This bridge CAN be repaired. http://www.nonpareilonline.com/news/local/crawford-county-mu...

Beaver Creek Bridge
Posted August 8, 2016, by Jason Smith (flensburg [dot] bridgehunter [dot] av [at] googlemail [dot] com)

According to newspaper sources, a truck damaged the HB while crossing it and is now closed to traffic. More here:


County officials are mulling options as to what to do with the structure. According to the county engineer, the bridge is non-repairable.


Needless to say, the bridge's future is in doubt.....