Savannah has three historic riveted lattice girder bridges, and one modern, non-historic welded lattice girder that carry pedestrians over the roadways between Bay Street and River Street. This is one of those three genuine historic bridges. Two of the historic lattice girder bridges are through girders, where the load-bearing lattice girder also serves as a railing, while the third historic lattice girder bridge is a deck girder. This is one of the through lattice girder bridges. Lattice girder bridges of any kind are a bridge type that is almost unheard of in the United States, and are far more common in Europe. These bridges in Savannah are therefore significant as a rare example of this European style bridge in the United States.
Sadly, very little is known about these three bridges, including who built them and when they date to.
The look of this bridge, especially with the curved outriggers it displays, is very reminiscent of lattice girder bridges found in the United Kingdom, where they were erected at train stations as pedestrian grade separations, allowing people to walk over the railway. An example can be seen here.
This bridge also stands out among the three lattice girder bridges in Savannah for its floor beams. Some of the floor beams are typical rolled beams, and may in fact not be original to the bridge and appear to be supplemental to the original floor beams. However most of the original floor beams appear to be in place, and what is significant is they appear to be cast iron. Metal bridges in the United States with major structural components like floor beams made of cast iron are among the rarest bridges in the country, and they generally are among the oldest too, usually dating to before 1870. While a close-up inspection was not possible, the beams appear to be cast iron because they are variable depth fishbelly-like beams that would not be rolled, yet rivets were not seen on the beams. Rivets would have suggested a built-up beam composed of rolled elements. Also, one of the beams appears to be broken at one end. Cast iron is brittle and breaks, where wrought iron and steel does not usually break in the manner seen on this bridge. Moreover, many of Savannah's historic homes are decorated in cast iron, so it is not far-fetched that the city would have used cast iron on these bridges... this was a city familiar with cast iron as a building material.
What makes this bridge a "lattice girder" and not a lattice truss with Quadruple Intersection Warren configuration? This could be open for debate, but in general bridges classified as lattice girder bridges instead of trusses have a very simple design and the actual size of the girder/truss is not large. Thus, these bridges in Savannah with a lattice composed of simple bars, and a depth of girder no higher than a standard pedestrian railing, clearly fall in the lattice girder category, especially when looking at how similar bridges in Europe are described.
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