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Massena Railroad Girder Bridge

Massena Railroad Girder Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: April 7, 2018

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Railroad (Massena Terminal Railroad) Over Grasse River (Grass River)
Massena: St. Lawrence County, New York: United States
Structure Type
Metal Deck Girder, Fixed and Approach Spans: Metal Through Girder, Fixed

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
100 Feet (30.5 Meters)
Structure Length
925 Feet (281.9 Meters)
Roadway Width
Not Available
7 Main Span(s) and 1 Approach Span(s)
NBI Number

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

This plate girder bridge sits next to a historic truss bridge, but crosses the river at a higher level, resulting in a nearby highway overpass bridge. They are technically two different bridges since they are separated by an earthen section. Both bridges are included in the photo gallery for this bridge. The through plate girder is estimated as having a 100 foot span. The seven main spans over the river are estimated at a total of 640 feet, with spans of varied length including estimated spans at 75, 90, and 100 feet. The overall length from the south end of the overpass span to the north end of the river span is estimated at 925 feet. In looking at this bridge carefully, one span has a slightly different appearance, with slightly deeper girders, and also a striking lack of rust compared to all other spans. This is the third span from the north, and it is an extremely rare, if not unique, span because it is a riveted plate girder railroad span made of aluminum. This aluminum span was installed by Alcoa Company (which had an aluminum mill nearby) as a demonstration span to show the capability of aluminum in structural work. However, all other spans of this bridge are steel, which perhaps makes for a questionable advertising argument. If aluminum was so great, why not make all spans out of aluminum? Indeed, aluminum never became popular in bridge building and is today one of the rarest materials in bridge construction, and is the main source of historic significance for this bridge.


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


Photo Galleries and Videos: Massena Railroad Girder Bridge

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