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Big Four Bridge

Big Four Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: May 5, 2006

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Key Facts

Sidney: Shelby County, Ohio: United States
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1923 By Builder/Contractor: Walsh Construction Company

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
140 Feet (42.7 Meters)
Structure Length
780 Feet (237.7 Meters)
Roadway Width
29 Feet (8.84 Meters)
5 Main Span(s)
NBI Number
Not Applicable

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

View A Historical Article Discussing Construction of This Bridge

The informative sign near this bridge mentioned that the bridge was built as a relocation project after a devastating flood in 1913 that apparently wiped out the downtown bridge. Perhaps the stone piers visible next to the North Street Bridge are the remains of this former bridge?

This bridge has a date cast into on a pier showing a 1923 construction date, but an informative plaque mounted near the bridge says it was opened in 1924. The sign also notes that five men died building this bridge. Particularly interesting, is that one of those workers is apparently still buried in the pier east of Main Avenue. Not a lot of OSHA safety going in the 1920s! Similar horror stories about people being buried in the concrete of the bridge have surfaced with other large concrete bridges like this one, and some of those stories appear to be more myth than truth. The validity of the buried person in this bridge is not known.

The fact that people died building this bridge is an example of why a bridge like this should be preserved. Maintaining and restoring a bridge such as this one honors the people who gave their lives to keep our country's road and rail networks connected and functioning. Beyond that, this bridge should be preserved because it is such an awesome bridge, and a landmark for Sidney. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Although the bridge appears to continue to serve railroad traffic, and is likely structurally sound given how massive it is, horrendous spalling of the concrete has occurred on the arch and this is reducing the bridge's beauty by slowly destroying the architectural details of this bridge.

This bridge is great for photographing, as there is a beautiful multi-span metal truss bridge next to this bridge. You can get excellent photos of the bridge with the truss bridge in the foreground. Like the Big Four Bridge however, this truss bridge is not being maintained (it is abandoned) and so it cannot be guaranteed that this bridge combination will remain forever.


Photo Galleries and Videos: Big Four Bridge

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Maps and Links: Big Four Bridge

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