Built in 1902, this bridge is an early surviving work associated with famous engineer J.A.L. Waddell. Although Waddell was a major proponent of the vertical lift type of movable bridge, he did design swing bridges as well, as this bridge shows. At the time this bridge was built, the firm Waddell was a part of was called Waddell and Hedrick. Very few bridges survive from the Waddell and Hedrick era, more numerous examples are from the next company he was with called Waddell and Harrington. This bridge is also a relatively early example of a bridge built by the American Bridge Company which formed only two years earlier.
The bridge is very high off the water for a bridge of a movable design. Only very tall boats would require the bridge to open. The bridge has undoubtedly not operated for many decades. The turnpike bridge next to it is at the same elevation and is of fixed design.
The design of the bridge is of interest in that the through truss swing span bears directly on the truss structure of the adjacent deck truss approach spans. The extensive approach system of multiple deck truss spans combine with the main swing span to create a large, impressive, and iconic historic bridge.
In 1982 unspecified damage occured to the bridge and/or the approaching railroad and the bridge has been abandoned ever since. There are plans to turn this corridor into a rail-trail. Despite the bridge's beauty, iconic design, and historic significance, there has actually been a proposal to replace this bridge with a all-new modern pedestrian bridge. This is a horrible idea and HistoricBridges.org is working to fight this effort and demonstrate that a railroad bridge designed to handle heavy trains can probably handle pedestrians!
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