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Indiana Harbor Canal Norfolk Southern Railroad Bridge

Indiana Harbor Canal Norfolk Southern Railroad Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: August 27, 2013

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Key Facts

East Chicago: Lake County, Indiana: United States
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1909 By Builder/Contractor: Unknown and Engineer/Design: Scherzer Rolling Lift Bridge Company of Chicago, Illinois

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
86 Feet (26.21 Meters)
Structure Length
Not Available
Roadway Width
Not Available
1 Main Span(s)
NBI Number
Not Applicable

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)

Bridge Documentation

This bridge was originally built for the Lakeshore and Michigan Southern Railway. Today, this line is owned by Norfolk Southern. Both Norfolk Southern freight trains and Amtrak passenger trains pass over this bridge today. As anyone who has ridden Amtrak over this bridge knows, trains must observe a speed restriction on this bridge, which is nice because it allows for a brief view of the other bascule bridges that are next to this bridge.

 Completed in 1909, this bridge is an old surviving example of a Scherzer Rolling Lift bascule bridge. The bridge has the composition of an early 20th Century Scherzer Rolling Lift bascule bridge including the distinctive counterweight that is carefully shaped to visually blend into both the truss and the roller, which helps give the bridge a clean, simple appearance. The bridge has some minor damage, including a broken section of lateral bracing between the top chords. There also is damage to some of the bottom chord connections, likely the result of a boat that thought (incorrectly) that it could fit under the lowered bridge.

This bridge is located deep within a privately owned area of heavy industry, alongside several other historic railroad bridges at this location. The only reliable, legal way for the public to visit these bridges on the canal is to take a boat on the canal, or briefly glance them out of the typically dirty windows of the Amtrak trains that cross this bridge.

Thanks to Tom Winkle for providing boat transportation to assist in the photo-documentation of this historic bridge.


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