This bridge is an example of something that is sadly somewhat uncommon in Wisconsin: a historic truss bridge preservation success story. Here, Wisconsin actually went out of its way to make sure this beautiful historic truss bridge, located in a part of the state with few surviving truss bridges, remains today. At first glance, it appears that this bridge was left in its original location for pedestrian use, with a replacement vehicular bridge built on new alignment to bypass the bridge. However, this truss bridge was actually moved slightly as part of the replacement project.
One nice feature is that even though the bridge was moved, necessitating the need for a new substructure, the appearance of the original caissons were replicated in the new substructure. Bolts were used instead of rivets for the steel casing, but the bolts are round head bolts and simulate the appearance of a rivet. Some of the original caisson bracing was reused as well.
The railings on this bridge are not original, but were added during the restoration work. However the lattice design of the new railings is in keeping with the aesthetics of the bridge. Originally, the bridge appears to have had two simple angles for railing.
Information and Findings From Wisconsin Historical Society
The Armstrong Creek Bridge is located on the edge of the Nicolet National Forest. It was manufactured in 1908 by the Hennepin Bridge Company, an important and prolific bridge builder in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This bridge originally carried what was then known as Highway 101 over Armstrong Creek. In the 1940s, the roadway (called Old 101 Road) was re-routed just west of the bridge and the bridge continued to serve pedestrians.
The Armstrong Creek Bridge is an example of a "full-slope," or "standard," Pratt pony truss bridge. The Pratt truss was the second-most numerous pony truss ridge type on Wisconsin roadways at one time. As late as 1981, the Armstrong Creek Bridge was one of 69 standard Pratt truss bridges remaining in the state. By 1997, the number of standard Pratt truss bridges in Wisconsin had fallen to eight. The Armstrong Creek Bridge is a three-span structure; the central span is the Pratt pony truss. It is a steel, pin-connected truss with four panels on each side. It is 50 feet long and carries a 16 foot wide deck. In 2007, the bridge was removed from its original site to accommodate the realignment of Old 101 Road. In 2010, the bridge was repaired, repainted, and installed on new piers adjacent to Old 101 Road. The south end of the structure is now pivoted about 20 feet east from its original site, with the placement of the north end unchanged. The Armstrong Creek Bridge continues to present a good and intact example of a vanishing resource: the standard, Pratt pony truss bridge.
Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes
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