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Kalamazoo River Railroad Bridge

   


Kalamazoo River Railroad Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: April 21, 2006
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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Railroad (Norfolk Southern) Over Kalamazoo River
Location
Rural: Allegan County, Michigan
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
By Builder/Contractor: Unknown

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
Not Available
Structure Length
Not Available
Roadway Width
Not Available
Spans
2 Main Span(s)
NBI Number
Not Applicable

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)

Bridge Documentation

Historic and structural significance are the words that best describe this amazing bridge. This bridge is without a doubt in the top five for most unusual railroad bridge in Michigan! Railroad pony truss bridges are extremely rare, especially in Michigan. The bridge is also significant as a multi-span truss structure here in Michigan. In addition, the design of the members and chords on this bridge are highly unusual also. They are not i-beams or box beams of any type as is common on most truss bridges. Rather, they are angled steel beams or simply plates. The result of this is a very odd appearance. The members appear paper thin when viewed from beside the bridge, and very wide and bulky from a distant side view such as the one shown on this page. Another thing with this bridge also is that the outriggers for the trusses extend to the inside of the bridge rather than the outside of the bridge, as seen in highway pony truss bridges such as the Nicol Road Bridge. This particular outrigger design is apparently not as unusual for a railroad pony truss however. The actual truss design of this bridge is a two span Pratt pony truss with riveted connections. Each span has nine panels. The bridge carries one set of tracks. Steel on the bridge was fabricated by Carnegie Steel. The bridge sits on stone piers and abutments. Ancient, weathered remains of wooden posts sticking up under the water beneath this bridge suggests that a wooden trestle style structure may have preceded this bridge.

The Kalamazoo River is strangely devoid of railroad truss bridges, despite its size. Deck plate girders, wooden structures, and beam bridges rule the waters. This is most certainly the most interesting railroad bridge on the river, and appears to be the only railroad truss bridge in the entire river!

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Photos and Videos: Kalamazoo River Railroad Bridge

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