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6th Street Bridge

New Hanover County Bridge 33

6th Street Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Elaine Deutsch

Bridge Documented: July 2015

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
6th Street Over Railroad (Abandoned Seaboard Coast Railroad)
Wilmington: New Hanover County, North Carolina: United States
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1911 By Builder/Contractor: Des Moines Bridge and Iron Company of Des Moines, Iowa

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Main Span Length
142 Feet (43.3 Meters)
Structure Length
150 Feet (45.7 Meters)
Roadway Width
17 Feet (5.18 Meters)
1 Main 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 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 highway bridges.

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes


Photo Galleries and Videos: 6th Street Bridge

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Maps and Links: 6th Street Bridge

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