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Fort Atkinson Bridge

Iowa Bridge Number 346320

Fort Atkinson Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth and Rick McOmber

Bridge Documented: June 30, 2009

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
150th Street Over Turkey River
Rural: Winneshiek County, Iowa: United States
Structure Type
Metal 7 Panel Pin-Connected Pratt Through Truss, Fixed and Approach Spans: Metal Stringer (Multi-Beam), Fixed
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1892 By Builder/Contractor: D. H. Young of Manchester, Iowa

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
132 Feet (40.2 Meters)
Structure Length
183 Feet (55.8 Meters)
Roadway Width
16.1 Feet (4.91 Meters)
1 Main Span(s) and 3 Approach Span(s)
NBI Number

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

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

This bridge is technologically significant as a good representative example of a pin-connected through truss bridge, and is further significant as a well-decorated bridge that retains its decoration. These decorations include detailed portal cresting which sits atop an A-frame portal bracing, as well as beautiful cast iron caps that include decorative spherical finials and list the 1892 date for the bridge. A builder plaque also remains on the bridge.  The bridge is also historically significant as an example of a bridge built by a local Iowa bridge company.

The bridge has been altered by the replacement of its original floorbeams, but the truss structure above the deck remains in original condition. Stringer approach spans are not all original.

Information and Findings From Iowa's Historic Bridge Inventory

Discussion of Bridge

Located in the small town of Fort Atkinson in southwestern Winneshiek County, this medium-span truss carries a county road over an intermittent stream. The structure dates to 1892. That year the Winneshiek county Board of Supervisors let a series of private contracts for fabrication and erection of this 135-foot, pinned Pratt truss. As indicated by a plate on the bridge itself, it was built by D.H. Young of Manchester, Iowa. County records do not reveal the total cost of the bridge. Called the Fort Atkinson Bridge locally, this steel truss features a Pratt configuration and is supported by a timber and concrete substructure. This early Winneshiek County bridge continues to carry local traffic with partial substructural and approach span replacement as the only alterations of note.

From the early 1880s to the establishment of state bridge standards in 1913, the pin-connected Pratt through truss was virtually the exclusive structural type for medium-span roadway crossings in Iowa. Its standardized fabrication, economy of materials and ease of erection made it a mainstay among the various state and regional bridge companies. Thousands of such trusses were built throughout the state during this period, and numerous examples remain in place today. The Fort Atkinson Bridge is distinguished among these for its relatively early erection date, well-preserved condition and the decorative iron cresting on its portals adapted from Crow-Dolby and Fraser 1992].

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes


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