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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.
This bridge is quite a bit different than the other two bridges. It is a deck girder instead of a through girder. Since the girders are under the deck and cannot provide a dual function as railing like the through girders do, railings needed to be provided. The railings on the bridge are metal and have simple "X" pattern in each panel, but at the center of each "X" is a very ornate cast iron flower. Between the girders under the deck there are simple diagonal rods that form a bracing for the bridge. Where the braces intersect, there are decorative cast iron flowers, an interesting decorative detail that is easy to miss.
Is is unclear why a deck girder was selected for this bridge instead of a through girder like the other two bridges. It seems like it would have been a greater cost and construction effort to go with a deck girder, since with the through girders the need for actual railings was avoided, with the girders providing a railing function.
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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