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River Road Bridge

River Road Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: June 19, 2010 and May 4, 2015

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
River Road (CR-65) Over Barge Canal
Rural: Montgomery County, New York: United States
Structure Type
Metal Cantilever 8 Panel Rivet-Connected Double-Intersection Warren Through Truss, Fixed and Approach Spans: Metal Cantilever Deck Girder, Fixed
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1910 By Builder/Contractor: Unknown

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Main Span Length
200 Feet (61 Meters)
Structure Length
359 Feet (109.4 Meters)
Roadway Width
15 Feet (4.57 Meters)
1 Main Span(s) and 4 Approach 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 one of the most unusual bridges in the country. It consists of a standard New York State Erie/Barge Canal through truss span of about 148-150 feet, however the northeast end of the truss span does not bear on a pier, instead it bears on a plate girder span that is cantilevered out from a pier. As such, this bridge is a cantilever bridge. It is difficult to classify. Main spans of cantilever bridges are typically measured from pier to pier, although the National Bridge Inventory listing counted the length of the truss from bearing to bearing as a main span length. The span between pier points which includes all of the truss and the cantilever arm is estimated at 200 feet, which is what HistoricBridges.org is listing as the main span length. Most of this span is a truss bridge, so the main span type was listed as a through truss with eight panels, but technically the main span is partially a plate girder. The panels of the plate girder were not included in the main span panel count. The combination of span types to make a cantilever bridge is extremely unusual. Also unusual is the fact that only the northeast end of the bridge is a cantilever design. The other end of the truss span simply bears on a pier. As a cantilevered structure, the plate girder span has an anchor arm span, featuring an abutment bearing which is technically an anchorage and is composed of tension eyebars embedded in concrete at the abutment.

The plate girder structure is also unusual because it consists of a pair of girders on either side of the roadway, not just a single girder as is typical.

This bridge is abandoned. Some of the approach spans southwest of the truss span have been removed. However the truss span and the cantilever plate girder retain excellent historic integrity.

The bridge originally had a Warren pony truss approach span at the southern end which has been removed in recent years (well into the 2000s). The northern end is missing approach spans which may have been concrete slabs, as seen on other similar bridges in the state. The bridge was originally configured as a traditional simple span through truss with concrete piers, but the plate girder cantilever alteration was added when the canal was widened in 1948, which resulted in the removal of one of the concrete piers for the through truss. Regardless, the cantilevered plate girder is riveted and even as an alteration, it is a remarkable example of bridge engineering and the bridge including the cantilever system should be considered Eligible for Listing in the National Register of Historic Places under Criterion C, for its engineering design. The bridge is highly significant.

Included at the end of the photo gallery are shots of depression-era cable guard rails and a short section of one of the earlier generations of the Erie Canal.

Above: Detail showing the plate girder cantilever arm, and the truss bearing. Also note that the plate girder structure consists of a pair of girders on either side of the roadway, not just a single girder as is typical.

Above: Detail of truss span bearing on plate girder span.


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