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Chambers Bay Railroad Bridge

Bridge 14

Chambers Bay Railroad Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: August 19, 2014

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Railroad (BNSF) Over Chambers Bay (Steilacoom Creek)
Steilacoom: Pierce County, Washington: United States
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1914 By Builder/Contractor: American Bridge Company of New York, New York and Engineer/Design: Strauss Bascule Bridge Company (Strauss Engineering Company) of Chicago, Illinois

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
96 Feet (29.26 Meters)
Structure Length
240 Feet (73.15 Meters)
Roadway Width
Not Available
1 Main Span(s) and 4 Approach Span(s)
NBI Number
Not Applicable

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)

Bridge Documentation

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This is the only remaining example of a Strauss Direct-Lift bridge in the United States. The only other known example in North America is located in Canada, at Prince George, BC. View the Prince George Bridge page for a more general discussion of the direct-lift type, including links to the patents and other documentation about this bridge type.

Designed and patented by famous engineer and bascule bridge proponent Joseph Strauss, it is perhaps not surprising that a Strauss direct-lift bridge combines the technologies of the bascule bridge with that of the lift bridge. The movable truss span raises up like any vertical lift, however the lifting motion is controlled by two bascule-like counterweighted arms that are linked to the lift span and rotate around trunnions.

Charles Louis Strobel who ran another Chicago-based bridge company called Strobel Steel Construction Company also had his own variety of direct-lift bridge... with just enough differences so as to avoid patent infringement. No examples of Strobel's direct-lift bridges remain today.

The Chambers Bay Railroad Bridge is nationally significant as the only surviving example of its kind in the country. A very unusual design, it was built to the patents of a famous engineer. The bridge appears to retain integrity of design and materials. For all these reasons, this bridge should be included among the most historically significant movable bridges in the country.



Photos and Videos: Chambers Bay Railroad Bridge

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