This bridge includes two relatively short five panel wrought iron through truss spans and two wooden stringer approach spans. The bridge was constructed by J. E. Jayne Bridge Company, a regional bridge builder from Iowa City of whom very few known examples would appear to remain. As such, this bridge is significant as a well-preserved, multi-span, unaltered example of this bridge company's work. The bridge retains good historic integrity although original railings are missing and some plates were welded to the floorbeam flanges. The unusually shaped original builder plaque remains mounted on top of the portal bracing.
The composition of this truss bridge is traditional, suggesting that the J. E. Jayne Bridge Company was a typical regional bridge builder similar to the various bridge regional bridge companies operating nationwide during the period. The composition of the truss is as follows: Top chord and end post: back-to-back channels with cover plate and battens. Hip verticals: loop-forged eyebars. Other verticals: back-to-back channels with lattice on each side. Bottom chord: loop-forged eyebars. Portal bracing: paired angles riveted to lattice webbing. Sway bracing: paired angles riveted together. Lateral bracing: rod. Floor beams: built-up "fishtail" style beams. Identified fabricator names on iron: Carnegie. Railing: Modern Armco guardrails. Deck: wooden deck stringers with asphalt wearing surface. Substructure: Metal caissons (lally columns).
The bridge has been well maintained and a preservation commitment seems apparent on this historic bridge. An attractive red paint highlights the complex beauty of the trusses and it also protects the bridge's metal from rust, thus preventing section loss and pack rust. With a continuing preservation commitment in the future, this bridge will serve faithfully for decades to come.
Information and Findings From Iowa's Historic Bridge Inventory
Discussion of Bridge
These two identical Pratt through trusses extend across Big Creek in the village of Bertram in southern Linn County. A bridge plate indicates that it was built by J.E. Jayne and Son of Iowa City, Iowa, in 1891. Minutes of a meeting of the Linn County Board of Supervisors in January 1892 reported that the 224-foot Bertram Bridge, with iron tube piers and two 20-foot approaches, had cost an aggregate sum of $2,927. The Pratt through truss style was utilized on many bridges built in Linn County in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Since its construction, the Ely Street Bridge has carried sparse traffic and currently maintains a high degree of both structural and historically integrity [adapted from Roise, Hess, and Crow-Dolby 1992].
Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes
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