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Sabula Rail Bridge

Sabula Railroad Bridge

Sabula Rail Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: August 11, 2013

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Railroad (Iowa, Chicago, and Eastern Railroad) Over Mississippi River
Sabula: Jackson County, Iowa and Carroll County, Illinois: United States
Structure Type
Metal Multiple-Type-Connected Pratt Through Truss, Movable: Swing (Rim Bearing Center Pier) and Approach Spans: Metal 9 Panel Pin-Connected Parker Through Truss, Fixed
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1906 By Builder/Contractor: Unknown

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
365 Feet (111.3 Meters)
Structure Length
1,910 Feet (582.2 Meters)
Roadway Width
Not Available
1 Main Span(s)
NBI Number
Not Applicable

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

This bridge is an increasingly rare surviving and unaltered example of a historic railroad bridge over the Mississippi River. Nearly all the historic railroad bridges on the Mississippi River are at a general risk for demolition or severe alteration. Numerous boats use the river, and the long-held dislike of boats for swing spans with obstructive center piers that has existed for well over a century remains alive today, putting the swing spans that are usually found on historic Mississippi River railroad bridges at risk for demolition. Furthermore, the limited number of railroad crossings over the river tends to funnel a lot of railroad mainline traffic onto the bridges, and so many are also at risk for severe alteration or replacement as railroads seek to run taller loads at higher speeds.As it stands, the Sebula Railroad Bridge is significant for surviving in an unaltered condition. It is also noteworthy for presenting a variety of pin-connected truss designs in a single bridge. It has a variety of spans the most noteworthy of which include the 365 foot swing span which is followed by a 260 foot Parker truss span to the east, which itself is followed by four pin-connected Pratt truss spans with span lengths between 215 and 220 feet. There are also a few deck plate girder and stringer spans that are part of this bridge.

This bridge was originally built for the Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Paul Railroad.


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