This bridge is noted for its skew and as a good representative example of a
riveted Pratt truss.
The bridge has contemporary fame as a filming location for the TV series
One Tree Hill.
Information and Findings From North Carolina's Historic Bridge Inventory
Discussion of Bridge
This 1911 riveted Pratt through truss bridge is
individually significant as an excellent representative of its type and
also contributes to the Wilmington Historic District. It was constructed
jointly by the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad and the City of Wilmington.
That is, the Wilmington Board of Aldermen ordered the railroad company
to construct bridges, including this one, across a railroad cut it had
made that divided one part of the city from another. Bids for the bridge
were let in 1910 and the Southern Construction Company of Burlington,
North Carolina was selected to build it. Its proposed cost was $7,500.
The contract was a failure, for Southern Construction left town in 1911
with an incomplete bridge and a large outstanding bill from the Des
Moines Bridge & Iron Company, which fabricated the structure. The press
reportedly called the situation the "Sixth Street Muddle." In the summer
of 1911, A.D. O'Brien, a Wilmington civil engineer, was awarded the
contract to complete the bridge. His bid was $1,400 and he did indeed
complete the structure that fall. The bridge, which is still intact, is
150 feet long and skewed, because Sixth Street and the railroad cut are
not perpendicular to each other.
The Pratt was the most common
truss design erected in North Carolina and the nation. It is identified
by a simple web arrangement of diagonals in tension and verticals in
compression, and was notable for its ease of design and fabrication and
use of economical standard components. Pratt trusses were dominant
throughout the last quarter of the 19th century and into the early
decades of the 20th. Most of the later examples of the truss used bolted
or, as at this bridge, riveted connections. The bridge is a through
rather than a pony truss, which means that its roadway passes through a
superstructure that is connected at its top by cross bracing. Through
trusses are designed to carry heavy traffic loads and can span hundreds
of feet. Standing within the city of Wilmington, this bridge is one of
the most accessible and visible of the 14 Pratt through truss bridges
dated from 1891 to 1954 recorded during the inventory of the state's
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