2 votes

Fort River Bridge


Photo taken by Marc N Belanger in August 2011


BH Photo #270059


Street Views 


Lenticular pony truss bridge over Fort River on a pedestrian path next to MA 116 in Amherst
Amherst, Hampshire County, Massachusetts
Open to pedestrians
Built 1880 by Corrugated Metal Co.; Bypassed c. 1940; Later rehabilitated for pedestrian use
- Corrugated Metal Co. of East Berlin, Connecticut [also known as Berlin Iron Bridge Co.]
- Amherst Street Railway
- Streetcar
Wrought-iron lenticular pony truss
Span length: 60.0 ft.
Total length: 60.0 ft.
Approximate latitude, longitude
+42.35563, -72.52071   (decimal degrees)
42°21'20" N, 72°31'15" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
18/704187/4692240 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Mount Holyoke
Inventory number
BH 49911 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • March 4, 2021: New photos from Patrick Gurwell
  • January 2, 2018: New Street View added by Dana and Kay Klein
  • January 2, 2018: New Street View added by Luke
  • June 16, 2016: New photos from Michael Quiet
  • November 11, 2013: New Street View added by Luke Harden
  • November 11, 2013: New photo from Marc N Belanger
  • October 27, 2011: Updated by James McCray: Edited bridge info to reflect that the bridge is the Fort River Bridge instead of the GHRB.
  • October 25, 2011: Added HAER photos and info
  • October 25, 2011: Added by James McCray


  • James McCray - jamesinslocomb [at] yahoo [dot] com
  • HAER MA-105 - Tuttle Bridge, Spanning Housatonic River on Golden Hill Road, Lee, Berkshire, MA
  • Marc N Belanger - marcnbelanger [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Luke
  • Michael Quiet - mquiet [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Dana and Kay Klein
  • Patrick Gurwell - pgurwell [at] gmail [dot] com


Fort River Bridge
Posted January 4, 2018, by Michael Quiet (mquiet [at] gmail [dot] com)

It looks more like the bypass date is wrong. Checking with the topographical maps it shows this bridge as the crossing until the 1939 topo. In the 1941 topo the bridge is still indicated, but has been bypassed with the current alignment. It looks like the original bypass bridge was replaced in 1965. It would be correct then to indicate that this bridge was bypassed c. 1940

It therefore seems highly unlikely this structure saw any trolley service. From what I can tell the Amherst Sunderland Street Railway only came into existence in 1896, which is well after this bridge was fabricated. And given its light build it doesn't seem suited for trolley service (and would also explain the earlier bypass date).

Here's a nice history of the trolley system:


Fort River Bridge
Posted January 2, 2018, by Luke

1962 aerial imagery seems to corroborate that.

Fort River Bridge
Posted January 2, 2018, by tom d (tbusharmed5 [at] comcast [dot] net)

I believe this bridge was part of the right of way of the Amherst street railway. I drove over the rt 116 bridge often in 1964 and if a bridge was replaced it was not this one. RT 116 never had a narrow one lane ultra light bridge. The troley barn was .5 miles away. I could never find a map of Amherst St. railway or other information but I went by there from the early 1950s with my parents to the present and this was never a road bridge.

Golden Hill Road Bridge
Posted October 27, 2011, by James McCray (jamesinslocomb [at] yahoo [dot] com)

I have done further research on the GHRB. This bridge is not the GHRB but is, instead, the Fort River Bridge. According to this paper, "LENTICULAR IRON TRUSS BRIDGES IN MASSACHUSETTS" (http://faculty-staff.ou.edu/C/Amy.B.Cerato-1/LenticularBridgePaper.pdf), there are two different bridges--the GHRB, which is currently dismantled and awaiting placement at UMass Amherst and the Fort River Bridge, which is this bridge we are wrongly calling the GHRB. Read the following paragraph from the paper:

"The Fort River Bridge is a 60 ft. long span crossing the Fort River in South Amherst and is shown in Figure 13. The bridge originally carried vehicular traffic as part of South Pleasant Street or what is now Rt. 116 between Amherst and South Hadley, but in 19??, the bridge was rebuilt as a pedestrian bridge by the Town of Amherst."

Therefore, to correct this error, I am going to rename this bridge Fort River Bridge. Secondly, I will also request that the webmaster remove the HAER photos of the GHRB, with no offense to whoever put them on this bridge's page. Finally, I will create the page for the GHRB and repost the HAER photos and its info on that page.

Golden Hill Road Bridge
Posted October 27, 2011, by James McCray (jamesinslocomb [at] yahoo [dot] com)

Um......are we sure this is the Golden Hill Road Bridge? In the UMass site, http://www.ecs.umass.edu/adaptive_bridge_use/bridge_files/go..., it says the following about the GHRB, "In the Documentation section below you will find a Google Earth file that depicts the bridge as it might someday look. In the file the bridge is set up to span the drainage ditch on the University Drive side of the practice fields."

Now, I looked at the file it refers to and it places the GHRB at a complete different location than where this bridge is located. To me it seems like the GHRB and this bridge are two complete different bridges. This bridge (the one I think is not the GHRB) is not even anywhere near University Dr.--the location that the site places the future GHRB.

Need some clarification here, I think.

Pedestrian Bridge
Posted October 25, 2011, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

James... UMass has a "stash" of historic bridges in their possesion. When I get home later I will look for the info about it on my home computer. I thought about adding these at one time, but just never seem to find the time. I glad that you are adding all these great spans and am happy to help you when I can!

Pedestrian Bridge
Posted October 25, 2011, by James McCray (jamesinslocomb [at] yahoo [dot] com)

So yeah......im kinda of picking my mouth off the floor. Just been adding bridges on here at UMass and just happened to find this random lenticular pony truss south of Amherst, MA. The bridge is not listed on this site, until now, it is not listed on any other bridge site or historical site so it is completely out of the blue in my eyes. I can't really find any historical info from any database or anything, so I need help.