HistoricBridges.org Menu: HistoricBridges.org Menu:


HistoricBridges.org: Bridge Browser

Bach Steel - Experts at historic truss bridge restoration.

Iron and Steel Preservation Conference and Workshop, May 2016: Learn more and register now!
Chicago's Bridges By Nathan Holth
Historic Bridges Available For Reuse (Great for trails/parks!)

Willimansett Bridge


Willimansett Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth and Rick McOmber

Bridge Documented: July 13, 2008
View Photos
and Videos
View Maps
and Links

Key Facts

Holyoke and Chicopee: Hampden County, Massachusetts
Structure Type
Metal 10 Panel Rivet-Connected Pennsylvania Through Truss, Fixed and Approach Spans: Metal Deck Girder, Fixed
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1891 By Builder/Contractor: R. F. Hawkins Iron Works of Springfield, Massachusetts and Engineer/Design: Edward S. Shaw of Boston, Massachusetts

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
173 Feet (52.7 Meters)
Structure Length
798 Feet (243.2 Meters)
Roadway Width
26.9 Feet (8.2 Meters)
4 Main Span(s) and 2 Approach Span(s)
NBI Number

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)

Bridge Documentation

View Archived National Bridge Inventory Report - Has Additional Details and Evaluation

View Massachusetts Historical Commission (MHC) Inventory Forms For This Historic Bridge

This bridge does not look like a bridge that was built in 1891. With a 26 foot wide deck, massive members, and riveted connections, it has more of a 1920s appearance. The only thing that makes it look as though it might be an older bridge is that it does not appear to conform to a state standard truss bridge plan. HistoricBridges.org double-checked the 1891 construction date on the plaque with some documents on the Internet, and this does indeed appear to be the original 1891 bridge. Assuming this bridge truly was built with riveted connections and pinned connections were not somehow converted to riveted connections at a later date, this is an extremely unusual and rare bridge. Riveted connections did not become popular especially in highway bridges until the early years of the 20th Century. Field riveting was difficult in the late 19th Century, and worse, the exact calculations needed for building the rigid trusses of a riveted connection truss was difficult, especially with a larger bridge that would undoubtedly tend to need to move and flex more as well. With its large Pennsylvania truss bridge spans, 1891 construction date, and riveted connections, the Willimansett is a very rare and significant bridge.

The bridge is currently programmed for a rehabilitation project. This is excellent news given the aesthetic qualities and historic significance of the bridge. As of 2008, the bridge had a 3% sufficiency rating. HistoricBridges.org (and apparently Massachusetts) both agree that this 3% sufficiency rating does not mean that rehabilitation is not possible, unwise, or unfeasible. Massachusetts has realized how often a sufficiency rating can be misleading and does not mean replacement is required. In other states where there does not exist a commitment to preservation, how many historic bridges have been needlessly demolished even with a much higher sufficiency rating such as 40%? Far too many!


Photos and Videos: Willimansett Bridge

Available Photo Galleries and Videos

Click on a thumbnail or gallery name below to visit that particular photo gallery. If videos are available, click on a video name to view and/or download that particular video.

View Photo Gallery
Bridge Photo-Documentation
Original / Full Size Photos
A collection of overview and detail photos. For the best visual immersion and full detail, or for use as a desktop background, this gallery presents the photos for this bridge in the original digital camera resolution.
View Photo Gallery
Bridge Photo-Documentation
Mobile Optimized Gallery
A collection of overview and detail photos. View the photos for this bridge in a reduced size which is useful for mobile/smartphone users, modem (dial-up) users, or those who do not wish to wait for the longer download times of the full-size photos. Alternatively, view this photo gallery using a popup slideshow viewer (great for mobile users) by clicking the link below.
Browse Gallery With Popup Viewer

View Maps
and Links

Home Top


About - Contact

© Copyright 2003-2015, HistoricBridges.org. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer: HistoricBridges.org is a volunteer group of private citizens. HistoricBridges.org is NOT a government agency, does not represent or work with any governmental agencies, nor is it in any way associated with any government agency or any non-profit organization. While we strive for accuracy in our factual content, HistoricBridges.org offers no guarantee of accuracy. Information is provided "as is" without warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied. Information could include technical inaccuracies or errors of omission. Opinions and commentary are the opinions of the respective HistoricBridges.org member who made them and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone else, including any outside photographers whose images may appear on the page in which the commentary appears. HistoricBridges.org does not bear any responsibility for any consequences resulting from the use of this or any other HistoricBridges.org information. Owners and users of bridges have the responsibility of correctly following all applicable laws, rules, and regulations, regardless of any HistoricBridges.org information.