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Burnsville Bridge

Burnsville Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Elaine Deutsch

Bridge Documented: July 2, 2013

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Bridge Street Over Little Kanawha River
Burnsville: Braxton County, West Virginia: United States
Structure Type
Metal 7 Panel Pin-Connected Pratt Through Truss, Fixed and Approach Spans: Metal 3 Panel Pin-Connected Pratt Half-Hip Pony Truss, Fixed
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1893 By Builder/Contractor: Variety Iron Works of Cleveland, Ohio

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Main Span Length
138.25 Feet (42.14 Meters)
Structure Length
206 Feet (62.79 Meters)
Roadway Width
10 Feet (3.05 Meters)
1 Main Span(s) and 2 Approach Span(s)
NBI Number
Not Applicable

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)

Bridge Documentation

View The National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form For This Historic Bridge

This bridge is one of the last remaining bridges built by the Variety Iron Works of Cleveland, Ohio. As most of the few surviving spans are only single span structures, this three span structure with an uncommon combination of pony and through truss spans, is also one of (if the the largest) surviving bridges built by the company. The bridge has a 44 foot pony truss span at one end, a 138.25 foot through truss span in the middle, and a short 23.75 foot girder span at the other end. As the name implies, Variety Iron Works did not build just bridges, and instead built many different types of structures including lighthouses, observation towers, etc.

In 1965, bents and stringers were added under the truss spans to bear the load of traffic, rendering the trusses at least partially non-functional. Today, the bridge is closed to all traffic. Aside from the added supports (which are a removable alteration) the bridge retains excellent historic integrity. The pony truss span has an unusual railing of two lattice hub guard style rails (usually there would be only one) while the through truss has a larger lattice railing. It is not known if one railing is original or not, but all of them are at least very old. Structurally, the bridge is in need of a restoration. The bridge appears as though it may be made of steel rather than wrought iron. This may explain why areas that traditionally are in good condition show substantial section loss such as the sway bracing. Steel does not weather as nicely as wrought iron in the absence of paint.

The bridge is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It would be nice to see this bridge fully restored. It is not too late to do so.


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