3 votes

Le Grand Truss Bridge


Looking west. Bridge destroyed and laying on north side.

Photo taken by Ray Kasal in February 2009


BH Photo #134019


This long-span bridge carries a gravel-surfaced road over the Iowa River on the line between Tama and Marshall counties. The structure is comprised of a single pinned Pratt through truss, supported by steel cylinder piers and approached by steel stringer spans on both sides. Located just north of the small town of Le Grand, the bridge was built here in 1896. On June 29th of that year the boards of supervisors for the two counties met in a joint session to open bids for the fabrication and erection of the Le Grand Bridge. Proposals were received from seven firm and, with a low bid of $3,548, the Marshalltown Bridge and Iron Works received the contract. Using steel components rolled by the Jones and Laughlin mills of Pittsburgh, the Marshalltown, Iowa firm built the truss later that year. The Le Grand Bridge has functioned in place, unaltered, between the two counties since that time, although U.S. 30 now carries the bulk of the east-west traffic through the region. From the early 1880s until the establishment of state bridge standards in 1913, the pin-connected Pratt through truss was the overwhelming bridge of choice for medium- and long-span crossings in Iowa. Its standardized fabrication, economy of materials and ease of erection made it a mainstay among the various state and regional bridge companies. Thousands of such trusses were built throughout the state during this period, and numerous examples remain in place today. The Le Grand Bridge is noteworthy among these for its long span and relatively high degree of integrity. Functioning for years as an important link between two counties, it is thus both technologically and historically significant [adapted from Fraser 1990].


Lost through truss bridge over Iowa River on Abbott Avenue, piers remain
Tama County, Iowa, and Marshall County, Iowa
Destroyed in 2008 flooding
Built 1896; rehabilitated 1930 Lost in flooding in 2008
- Marshalltown Bridge & Iron Works of Marshalltown, Iowa
pinned Pratt through truss
Length of largest span: 157.2 ft.
Total length: 242.1 ft.
Deck width: 14.1 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 12.2 ft.
Approximate latitude, longitude
+42.03105, -92.76662   (decimal degrees)
42°01'52" N, 92°45'60" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/519318/4653250 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Le Grand
Land survey
T. 83 N., R. 16 W., Sec. 06
Average daily traffic (as of 2013)
Inventory numbers
IA 318330 (Iowa bridge number)
BH 14470 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of December 2014)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • August 19, 2017: New photo from Luke
  • July 6, 2012: New photos from Quinn Phelan
  • August 15, 2011: Updated by Luke Harden: Fixed name and added builder
  • July 26, 2011: Updated by Luke Harden: bridge is a pinned pratt truss, added description, added year lost.
  • February 22, 2009: New photo from Ray Kasal


  • Ray Kasal - raykasal [at] yahoo [dot] com
  • Luke
  • Greg Hall - cyclebay [at] aol [dot] com
  • Quinn Phelan - qphelan [at] earthlink [dot] net


LeGrand Bridge
Posted November 17, 2012, by Anonymous

Thanks for taking and posting photos of the debris. I appreciate it.

Iowa River Bridge
Posted March 27, 2010, by Greg Hall (cyclebay [at] aol [dot] com)

Photo's from 2008 visit.

Photo 1- Looking South

Photo 2- Looking South

Photo 3- Looking S/E

Photo 4- Debris against bridge on West side (suspect cause of failure?

Photo 5- Looking West

Webmaster's note: The photos that were here have been incorporated into the main site.

Iowa River Bridge
Posted January 2, 2009, by J.R. Manning (thekitchenguy [at] sbcglobal [dot] net)

Most likely true, Greg. It's the same flood that took out an important Iowa River Bridge in Boone County during the floods. You can see it here: http://bridgehunter.com/ia/boone/77850/

Next time you go, get some pics of it. Even photos of a damaged bridge are better than no photos at all.

Iowa River Bridge
Posted January 1, 2009, by Greg Hall (cyclebay [at] aol [dot] com)

Visit Sept. 08 found road closed. North end of bridge sitting on abutment, South end washed to the East and twisted on it's side in a gravel bar. In general, bridge bent in a "u" plus twisted onto it's side. Lot's of timber debris washed into the side. Assume this is damage from spring floods, but possible earlier.