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La Salle Avenue Bridge

St. Joseph County Bridge 210

La Salle Avenue Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: October 2006 and March 31, 2013

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
La Salle Avenue Over St. Joseph River
South Bend: St. Joseph County, Indiana: United States
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1907 By Builder/Contractor: Marsh Engineering Company of Des Moines, Iowa

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Main Span Length
79 Feet (24 Meters)
Structure Length
279 Feet (85 Meters)
Roadway Width
50.2 Feet (15.3 Meters)
3 Main Span(s)
NBI Number

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

View Archived National Bridge Inventory Report - Has Additional Details and Evaluation

This bridge is noteworthy as an example of a Melan arch bridge. Melan arch bridges use solid steel arch ribs inside the concrete instead of rebar for reinforcing. This bridge is particularly significant because it was built to the original Concrete Steel Engineering Company patents that used a Melan type reinforcing. This bridge has been rehabilitated, and the railings while historic looking do not appear to be original. However, it appears that the Melan reinforcing was not removed and replaced, and remains safely concealed within the concrete. Thus, this bridge is a good example of a rehabilitation and preservation project. This is worth noting because in Indianapolis, they tried to pass off a project where they removed and replaced the Melan reinforcing with rebar as a preservation project, which is not accurate. Such a project is a demolition and replacement project.

Information and Findings From DHPA Historic Bridge Survey

Statement of Significance

Melan-reinforced arches are no longer plentiful in Indiana. This may be the only bridge built according to the Concrete Steel Engineering Company's patents. Although the original rails have been replaced, the local landmark retains most of its architectural integrity. City officials like the new bridge. "Permanent bridges of this character should hereafter be erected," opined the South Bend City Civil Engineer in 1907.

Architectural Description

The Marsh Bridge Company of Des Moines, Iowa, won the contract to build this 279', three-span, Melan-reinforced concrete arch bridge for $84,750. Marsh Bridge subcontracted the reinforcing to Concrete-Steel Engineering Company which fabricated the steel following its patented system. The county paid Malverd A. Howe of Rose Polytechnic Institute to inspect the plans. A. J. Hammond (designer) Concrete-Steel Engineering and Marsh Bridge (builders).

Each of the rings is elliptical and spans 79'. Solid spandrel walls retain the earth fill which carries the 50' asphalt roadway between sidewalks and replacement metal rails.

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes

This bridge is tagged with the following special condition(s): Melan


Photo Galleries and Videos: La Salle Avenue Bridge

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