1 vote

Red Cloud Bridge


Photo taken by Robert Elder in June 2008


BH Photo #116198

Street View 


The Nebraska Department of Roads and Irrigation designed the Red Cloud Bridge in 1935 after spring floods weakened the old structure. Although the highway department generally constructed simple truss spans, it instead delineated a continuous truss for the Red Cloud Bridge. The channel spans consist of three continuous pony trusses, flanked by deck girder approaches. To provide sway bracing, overhead lateral struts connect the upper chords of both webs at the bridge piers. The four main piers are constructed of concrete with up- and downstream cutwaters. The piers rest on concrete-filled tubes driven to bedrock. The approach span abutments consist of steel piles encased in concrete, with flared, sloped wingwalls. Highway department engineers took great pains to ensure that the bridge was seated properly to avoid undue stresses at the bearing points, weighing each truss with hydraulic jacks before the concrete deck was poured. The Red Cloud Bridge, located near the town of Red Cloud, is technologically significant as a rare experimental design by the state highway department. Representing a highly unusual foray into continuous truss engineering, the Red Cloud Bridge is unique in Nebraska and is one of the state's most important vehicular spans. [From NRHP Form]


Through truss bridge over Republican River on US 281, 2 mi. south of Red Cloud
Webster County, Nebraska
Open to traffic
Built ca. 1935
- Nebraska Highway Department (Designer)
- Omaha Steel Works of Omaha, Nebaraska (Fabricator/Builder)
Three-span cantilevered Warren through truss
Length of largest span: 200.1 ft.
Total length: 644.1 ft.
Deck width: 24.0 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 14.7 ft.
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on June 29, 1992
Approximate latitude, longitude
+40.06292, -98.51903   (decimal degrees)
40°03'47" N, 98°31'09" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
14/541018/4434851 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Red Cloud
Average daily traffic (as of 2018)
Inventory numbers
NRHP 92000726 (National Register of Historic Places reference number)
BH 24779 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of July 2018)
Overall condition: Fair
Superstructure condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 34.4 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • February 20, 2014: Updated by Dave King: Added description, imported photos
  • June 30, 2008: New photo from Robert Elder


  • Robert Elder - robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Dave King - DKinghawkfan [at] hotmail [dot] com
  • NRHP Form


Red Cloud Bridge
Posted May 9, 2011, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

I am uncertain about the builder of these bridges - that would make a good research project when time permits. This is the only bridge of its type that I am aware of outside of Kansas.

None of the Kansas examples were considered historically significant when the surveys of truss bridges were conducted in the 1980s and almost all Kansas examples (ie nationwide examples in this case) have been demolished.

Of the four remaining bridges nationwide (that I am aware of), this is the only one that has been listed on the NRHP.

Three examples remain in Kansas and at least one is doomed.

Red Cloud Bridge
Posted May 7, 2011, by D. W. Adams (weetbixmarmite [at] yahoo [dot] com)

These bridges seem to have been very common in Nebraska and Kansas, these flat, cantilevered Warren trusses that just barely have a couple or few overhead crossbars to qualify as through trusses. Many of them have been lost in the past decade, like the Neosho bridge at Burlington, Kansas, but a few, like this one, remain. Were they designed by the same company? Is there are particular name for this subtype?

Republican River Bridge
Posted July 11, 2008, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Actually, they are two different types. This bridge is a cantilver (also known as a continuous) truss bridge. The Asylum Bridge is a very rare style known as a Reverse Parker. If you look carefully at the middle portion of the Asylum Bridge, you will notice that it resembles a Parker Truss, only with the top chords inverted. The Asylum Bridge is thought to be the only one of its kind in existence.

Republican River Bridge
Posted July 10, 2008, by Anthony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)


This bridge looks like a newer version of the Asylum Bridge.

Do you think its the same truss type, and are there any connections between the two?