4 votes

Rush County Line Bridge


Rush County Line Bridge

Photo taken by Mike LeMasters in September 2011


BH Photo #215336


Lost three-span stone arch bridge over a branch of the Smoky Hill River, 11.0 mi. north and 0.7 mi. east of Otis
Rush County, Kansas, and Russell County, Kansas
Built 1936 by the Works Progress Administration
- Works Progress Administration
Stone arch
Length of largest span: 24.9 ft.
Total length: 63.0 ft.
Deck width: 22.6 ft.
Approximate latitude, longitude
+38.69678, -99.03839   (decimal degrees)
38°41'48" N, 99°02'18" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
14/496661/4283129 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Otis NE
Land survey
T. 16 S., R. 16 W., Sec. 1
Average daily traffic (as of 2008)
Inventory numbers
NRHP 86003355 (National Register of Historic Places reference number)
KS 000000000830337 (Kansas local bridge number on the National Bridge Inventory)
BH 18466 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of February 2012)
Overall condition: Poor
Superstructure condition rating: Serious (3 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Serious (3 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Poor (4 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 31.9 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • January 27, 2015: Updated by Robert Elder: Bridge has been demolished.
  • October 16, 2013: Updated by Don Morrison: fixed coordinates
  • October 9, 2013: Updated by Luke Harden: Dooomed
  • September 28, 2011: New photos from Mike LeMasters


  • Mike LeMasters
  • Luke
  • Don Morrison
  • Robert Elder - robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com


Rush County Line Bridge
Posted January 27, 2015, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Yes, very poorly played. There are several other WPA bridges in the area, but this was one of the best.

Rush County Line Bridge
Posted January 27, 2015, by Nicole Beck (prairieroads06 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

According to Kansas Preservation Vol. 36, No. 4, 2014, this bridge was demolished in 2014. Poorly played, Rush County.

Rush County Line Bridge
Posted October 17, 2013, by Robert Elder

Mr. Wagner:

Thank you for your input. Local residents such as yourself are critical for the process of saving this bridge. Although Kansas has several WPA stone arch bridges, this is one of the most significant. I have connections with KSHS and I will send them an e-mail. Hopefully we can save this bridge at the proverbial 11th hour.

Rush County Line Bridge
Posted October 17, 2013, by Dale Wagner (dale [at] thewagners [dot] co)

My family owns the land adjacent to the bridge, where I grew up and had sight of the bridge from our house. It is a shame that the Rush and Russell county commissioners have nothing but $ signs in mind when considering what to do about bridge repairs. The commissioners have been dinking around for over 1 and 1/2 years in their lack of addressing the issue. Our family even offered to fund a portion of the cost differential to repair the bridge as opposed to replacing it. This offer is in addition to the substantial taxes that our family pays to the county each year. I'll bet the decision would be far different if any of the commissioners lived near, or had to use the bridge. My family is very much in favor of repair as opposed to replace. Please reconsider and lets keep this beautiful and historic bridge in place.

Rush County Line Bridge
Posted October 16, 2013, by Anonymous

I am glad that KAKE has picked up the story. They have a large viewership in the greater Wichita area. The Topeka Capitol Journal also had a story about it. Now maybe the Lawrence Journal World or Kansas City Star could give it a mention, especially if it gets picked up by the A.P.

Rush County Line Bridge
Posted October 16, 2013, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

This is ridiculous that they are pushing to demolish an historic bridge that serves a meager 40 ADT...

Acquire a small bit of land next to it, then put in a low water crossing and call it a day! Simple solution that saves a piece of history as well as taxpayer $$$... Might not sit well with their contractor buddies however!

Rush County Line Bridge
Posted October 16, 2013, by Don Morrison

Corrected location to near CR 400 and Avenue A as appears on images.

Rush County Line Bridge
Posted October 16, 2013, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

It is not unusual for bridge details to get confused in news reports. Often times the main span length seems to get swapped for total length or vice-versa. Sometimes a rehab date also gets listed as the build date. This can be most unfortunate if it leads the public to believe the bridge is much newer than it really is.

There is now talk of preserving another bridge in exchanged for this one being demolished. Problem is, the other bridge is smaller, newer and considerably less significant (not that I would not want to see it preserved as well).

Rush County Line Bridge
Posted October 16, 2013, by Zach (metallicarox2009 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Based on the stories I've seen on KAKE and the Hays news, this looks like the bridge slated for demolition, but the info seems inconsistent. The lat/lon shows a location that doesn't have a three arch bridge, and is nowhere close to the county line. I did find a three arch bridge on the county line, in an oilfield that I believe is this bridge: 38.6968,-99.038414 also the reported length on here is shorter than what the bridge is on Google Earth, and the KAKE article stated the length was around 90', which is consistent with the bridge on the county line.

Rush County Line Bridge
Posted October 16, 2013, by Luke Harden (lukemh9 [at] gmail [dot] com)

In my opinion, obscuring it, although not the most preferred option (I think most of us would agree that a relocation of the whole bridge in a manner similar to how http://bridgehunter.com/ia/pocahontas/bh54933/ and http://bridgehunter.com/ia/lyon/melan/ were relocated would be a better option.), would still be a /lot/ better than demolishing it entirely.

Rush County Line Bridge
Posted October 16, 2013, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Luke, that is an interesting idea. If the topography would be conducive to that, we might have an economical solution that would preserve the old bridge, even though the view would be obscured a bit.

Rush County Line Bridge
Posted October 16, 2013, by Luke Harden (lukemh9 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Would a setup similar to this be at all possible?:


Rush County Line Bridge
Posted October 16, 2013, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)


This bridge will be demolished unless there is a successful charge to change the minds of county commissioners.

Oilfield tankers require a larger and stronger bridge.


Rush County Line Bridge
Posted October 9, 2013, by Larry Wagner (Lwagner8 [at] cox [dot] net)

This bridge has been removed from the historic register and is scheduled to be torn down soon. I grew up a half mile from this bridge and really hate to see it go. I would like to see the counties involved rethink this decision.

Rush County Line Bridge
Posted November 19, 2012, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

This bridge may get de-listed from the NRHP. Rush County wants to do extensive repairs, Russell County wants to demolish and replace it.


The bridge appears to be in terrible condition according to the article. If an extensive repair would save the bridge, I would certainly support that, even if some historical integrity was compromised. It would be nice to see the bridge remain on the NRHP, however.