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Twin Railroad Bridge

Twin Railroad Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth and Rick McOmber

Bridge Documented: September 23, 2012

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Key Facts

Rural: Hendricks County, Indiana: United States
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1906 By Builder/Contractor: Unknown

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
Not Available
Structure Length
Not Available
Roadway Width
Not Available
3 Main Span(s)
NBI Number
Not Applicable

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

This bridge is oddly called Twin Railroad Bridge apparently because it is next to another bridge, a highway bridge. However, the railroad bridge is about as far from a twin as you can get. This is a massive, high level concrete railroad deck arch bridge, quite different from the low level, lightweight metal truss highway bridge. This highway truss actually sits in the footprint of the previous railroad bridge, a metal truss whose stone abutment remains nearby.

This bridge is one of two concrete arch bridges along this stretch of railroad line. The bridge has spalled severely, which has diminished its architectural details. It likely remains structurally intact however due to how heavily overbuilt these bridges were. With a 1906 construction date, this bridge is an early surviving example of a concrete arch bridge.

Information and Findings From DHPA Historic Bridge Survey

Statement of Significance

Only a handful of open-spandrel railroad bridges survive, and they are by far the oldest in the state. This is one of three on the New York Central's tracks. In addition to its venerable age and monumental character, it is noteworthy for the coping of its rings.

Architectural Description

Where the distance between the roadway and the stream and the volume of the water carried by the watercourse are both considerable, the weight of the fill and the required side-to-side width of the structure reduces the economic advantages of reinforced concrete arches under fill. The open-spandrel arch, which requires a good bit of formwork is therefore an expensive alternative, may then become the form of choice. In large open-spandrel structures, the arch ring is often composed of two or more longitudinal ribs. A series of columns support the deck and transfer the loads to the ribs or ring. Beams and slabs, in turn, carry the floor below the roadbed. Because of their expense, only a few such rail structures have been built in Indiana. Most resulted from the New York Central's double-tracking and grade separation programs early in the century.

This three-span structure takes the New York Central's tracks over a stream and a county road in Hendricks County. The rings are segmental and coped, about 2' deep at center and 4' at the pier tower and abutment, and raised vertically on the piers as necessary to balance one another (10-12' in the center span). Arched spandrel columns support a 2' concrete slab deck on which the crushed-stone roadbed rides.

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes


Photo Galleries and Videos: Twin Railroad Bridge

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