5 votes

Hockeys Slough Bridge


Photo taken by Luke in August 2013

View this photo on Flickr

BH Photo #260111



Located west of Nichols, this small-scale concrete bridge carries a gravel-surfaced county road over Hockeys Slough. The bridge consists of a single-span concrete rigid-frame structure, supported by concrete abutments. Although its dimensions are modest--spanning only 45 feet--the structural configuration of the bridge is noteworthy. The slightly arched, continuous reinforced concrete slab is tied rigidly into the abutments, forming a rigid-frame structure. The Iowa State Highway Commission designed the structure in the spring of 1937. Using the ISHC design, Muscatine County solicited competitive proposals and in June awarded a contract for this bridge and two others to Otto Wendling of Muscatine. Presumably completed later that year, this structure has functioned in place since, in unaltered condition. With notable engineers such as Thomas McDonald and Conde McCullough on its staff, the Iowa State Highway Commission was from the beginning a leader among state highway agencies in the standardization of bridge design. Immediately after its re-organization in 1913, ISHC began developing design standards for several short-span structural types. But within this framework of standardization, ISHC was continuously experimenting with innovative applications of existing and new technologies. This diminutive bridge in Muscatine County is evidently the result of ISHC experimentation. It and the other bridges let in the June 1937 contract employed rigid-frame configurations; this one uses a reinforced concrete slab. Further research is needed to determine the purpose and circumstances of this exercise, but it appears that the bridge is a formative application by ISHC in concrete rigid-frame. The Hockeys Slough Bridge was not the first concrete rigid frame bridge designed by ISHC. It is today distinguished as one of few such rigid-frame bridges (and the only rigid-frame slab) in Iowa-- an important transportation-related resource [adapted from Fraser 1991].


Concrete Rigid Frame bridge over Hockeys Slough on Bancroft Avenue
Muscatine County, Iowa
Open to traffic
Built 1937
- Iowa State Highway Commission of Ames, Iowa (Designer)
- Otto Wendling of Muscatine, Iowa (Contractor)
Concrete Rigid Frame
Span length: 45.9 ft.
Total length: 45.9 ft.
Deck width: 20.0 ft.
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on May 15, 1998
Approximate latitude, longitude
+41.47726, -91.34838   (decimal degrees)
41°28'38" N, 91°20'54" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/637899/4593056 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Land survey
T. 77 N., R. 4 W., Sec. 17
Average daily traffic (as of 2014)
Inventory numbers
IA 257760 (Iowa bridge number)
NRHP 19251949 (National Register of Historic Places reference number)
BH 14142 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of September 2017)
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: 44.8 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • June 5, 2020: New photo from Luke
  • September 15, 2013: New photos from J.R. Manning
  • July 20, 2013: New photos from Luke Harden
  • July 10, 2013: Updated by Luke Harden: Corrected stream name.
  • January 11, 2012: Photo imported by Luke Harden
  • September 11, 2011: Updated by Luke Harden: Added builder
  • July 22, 2011: Updated by Luke Harden: Added description
  • June 9, 2011: Updated by Luke Harden: Added National Register information
  • June 8, 2011: New photo from Luke Harden


  • Luke
  • J.R. Manning - thekitchenguy [at] sbcglobal [dot] net


Big Slough Creek Bridge
Posted June 8, 2011, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

If all replacement concrete spans looked like this....it would be hard to call them UCEB's.....

Big Slough Creek Bridge
Posted June 8, 2011, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

This looks like an excellent example of a concrete rigid-frame to me, rather than a concrete arch. The date is also well in the context of a rigid frame.