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SAL- Lincoln Street Viaduct


Lincoln Street Viaduct

Looking south down Lincoln Street. Photograph used with permission.

Photo taken by Tim Heckman

View this photo at rrpicturearchives.net

BH Photo #243773



This structure was a mile long viaduct that carried railroad traffic, freight and passenger, from just south of the passenger station on Gervais Street to solid ground again near Heyward Street. It was built for the Seaboard Air Line Railway and through various mergers over the years was owned by CSX Railroad at the time of it's last use. It ran alongside Lincoln Street, thus the name. It was demolished in the 1990s as part of a massive railroad relocation project in Columbia and the passenger station moved to the current day location.

There was debate at that time whether or not to keep the viaduct in place. Mayor T.Patton Adms (1986-1990) argued the viaduct should be saved for use later on as a light rail route. Others wanted to consider using the bridge for a pedestrian walkway. But former mayor Kirkman Finlay, Jr. (1978-1986) said the viaduct was an eyesore and would hinder future development. His side won the arguement and the old viaduct was taken down piece by piece. Michael Young remembers dismantling the bridge began suddenly and happened quickly while the public initially thought the matter was far from being settled.

In the twenty years since the railroad relcation, Columbia has been active in developing parks and riverwalks. The railroad tunnel a few blcoks north of the location of the viaduct was recently reopened as a pedestrian walkway. The area near the south end of the bridge has become the Grek Village for the University of South Carolina. By keeping the bridge in place, Columbia could have had a walkway in place that connected historic neighborhoods north of downtown with the Vista shopping and dining district, the USC Greek Village as well as the river walks along the Congaree River.


Lost steel strignerridge over Blossom Street on SAL Railroad
Columbia, Richland County, South Carolina
Removed but not replaced
Orginally built in 1900 for Seaboard Air Line, removed in 1991
- J.B. McClain (SAL Engineer)
- CSX Railroad (CSX)
- Family Lines System (FL)
- Seaboard Air Line Railway (SAL)
- Seaboard Coast Line Railroad (SCL)
- Seaboard System Railroad (SBD)
- Southern Railway (SOU)
Steel stringer
Total length: 4,934.0 ft. (0.9 mi.)
Also called
Seaboard Air Line Viaduct
Approximate latitude, longitude
+33.99184, -81.03413   (decimal degrees)
33°59'31" N, 81°02'03" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
17/496848/3761251 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Southwest Columbia
Inventory number
BH 54663 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • February 25, 2013: Photo imported by Joseph Hinson
  • February 19, 2013: Updated by Joseph Hinson: Added three photos by Daniel Killinger taken in 1991.
  • February 12, 2013: Photo imported by Joseph Hinson
  • February 11, 2013: Updated by Luke Harden: Merged NBI data
  • February 11, 2013: Photo imported by Joseph Hinson
  • November 29, 2012: Added by Joseph Hinson

Related Bridges 

  • Seaboard Air Line Tunnel (Same project) - The Lincoln Street Viaduct and Seaboard Air Line Tunnel were on the same rail line about a half mile from one another.


  • Joseph Hinson - joethephotog [at] yahoo [dot] com
  • F. Will Martin - Martin added knowledge and descriptions to his photographs that are used here.
  • Luke
  • Michael Young - This viaduct has been discussed on the Carolina Rails e-mail list a lot over the last five years and former railroad ticket agent and Columbia resident Michael Young has been very helpful with his memories of the bridge.
  • Daniel Killinger - Carolina Rails list member Killinger was kind enough to send me some scans of slides he made in 1991 just prior to the viaduct coming down.


Lincoln Street Viaduct
Posted February 11, 2013, by Joseph Hinson (joethephotog [at] yahoo [dot] com)

I'm always scouting the web for other pictures of this structure. Bridge and rail fans in the Columbia, SC area love this bridge and in the grane scheme fo things, it hasn't been gone that long. (1991 or 1992) Google Earth imagery only goes back to 1994 in this area, so that's a no go.

Any ideas on other places to look beside searching Google for "Lincoln Street Viaduct" or some variation?