HistoricBridges.org Menu: HistoricBridges.org Menu:

We Recommend:
Bach Steel - Experts at historic truss bridge restoration.

HistoricBridges.org: Bridge Browser

Rainbow Bridge

Rainbow Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: December 24, 2012

View Photos
and Videos
View Maps
and Links

Niagara Falls: Niagara Region, Ontario and Niagara County, New York: Canada and United States
Structure Type
Metal Hingeless Solid Ribbed Deck Arch, Fixed and Approach Spans: Concrete Closed Spandrel Deck Arch, Fixed
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1941 By Builder/Contractor: Bethlehem Steel Company of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and Engineer/Design: Waddell and Hardesty of New York, New York
Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
950.0 Feet (289.6 Meters)
Structure Length
1,444.0 Feet (440.1 Meters)
Roadway Width
48 Feet (14.63 Meters)
1 Main Span(s) and 10 Approach Span(s)
Inventory Number

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
View Information About HSR Ratings

Bridge Documentation

View Archived National Bridge Inventory Report - Has Additional Details and Evaluation

View Historical Article About This Bridge

This bridge is located next to Niagara Falls and as such is a bridge that is seen and photographed by many people, largely because it happens to be where tourists are already visiting the Niagara Falls. However, the bridge itself has a great deal of heritage significance. The bridge is a hingeless steel arch, and when it was first built was reportedly the longest hingeless steel arch ever constructed. The bridge's steel is composed of built-up beams that are riveted together. The bridge appears to retain good historic integrity with no major alterations to the superstructure noted. The bridge's solid rib arch and minimal bracing give this bridge an appearance that is quite modern in comparison to other bridges built during this time.

The bridge also includes a series of concrete arch approach spans which in addition to the obvious function they provide as approach spans also visually compliment the longer main arch span and present a pleasing contrast of steel and concrete. These concrete arch spans have an unusual appearance when viewed up close due to the forms that were used to pour the concrete. Most concrete on old bridges usually does display the texture of the boards that were used as forms for pouring the concrete. However with this bridge, it appears that the boards or planks were either very narrow or were turned sideways, and also there appears to have been enough gap between each plank to allow more concrete to seep through than in most concrete work the concrete as seen today has an unusually striking ribbed appearance and texture to it.

The Rainbow Bridge is the latest of a series of bridges at this location. Earlier bridges included the Upper Steel Arch Bridge, whose destruction by ice accelerated the plans to build the Rainbow Bridge, which had already been in the works anyway. The skewbacks for the Upper Steel Arch Bridge are still visible just south of the Rainbow Bridge. The Upper Steel Arch Bridge had been a replacement for a suspension bridge at this location.

The Rainbow Bridge and the Lewiston Queenston Bridge: Similar Yet With Striking Differences

The Rainbow Bridge and the Lewiston Queenston Bridge are often compared to each other and the newer Lewiston Queenston Bridge is often described as a replica of the Rainbow Bridge. While the Lewiston Queenston Bridge did apparently use some of the designs from the Rainbow Bridge and its main arch span from a distance looks nearly identical to the Rainbow Bridge, many differences are worth noting between the two bridges. Examining these differences also reveals several interesting facts about each bridge.

The Lewiston Queenston Bridge has riveted deck plate girder approach spans, while the Rainbow Bridge has concrete arch approach spans. The bracing the for the older Rainbow Bridge has built-up beams with v-lacing, which was typical for the period in which it was built. The newer Lewiston Queenston Bridge also has built-up beams for the bracing, but in contrast these beams lack v-lacing and instead uses plate with holes in place of the v-lacing, which in turn was typical for this bridge's period of construction. The Lewiston Queenston Bridge and Rainbow Bridges were also erected using two completely different methods. The Rainbow Bridge was erected with the assistance of arch tiebacks which were temporary towers with stays that held the arch in place until it was completed and able to support itself. The Lewiston Queenston Bridge on the other hand was erected with the use of falsework bents that sloped away from the edges of the waterway up to the arch to hold the arch up from below until it was able to support itself.


Photo Galleries and Videos: Rainbow Bridge


View Photo Gallery

Bridge Photo-Documentation

Original / Full Size Photos
A collection of overview and detail photos. This gallery offers photos in the highest available resolution and file size in a touch-friendly popup viewer.
Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer


View Photo Gallery

Bridge Photo-Documentation

Mobile Optimized Photos
A collection of overview and detail photos. This gallery features data-friendly, fast-loading photos in a touch-friendly popup viewer.
Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer


Maps and Links: Rainbow Bridge

Coordinates (Latitude, Longitude):

Search For Additional Bridge Listings:

HistoricBridges.org Bridge Browser: View listed bridges within 0.5 miles (0.8 kilometers) of this bridge.

HistoricBridges.org Bridge Browser: View listed bridges within 10 miles (16 kilometers) of this bridge.

Additional Maps:

Google Maps

Google Streetview (If Available)

Bing Maps


GeoHack (Additional Links and Coordinates)

Apple Maps (Via DuckDuckGo Search)

Apple Maps (Apple devices only)


HERE We Go Maps

ACME Mapper

Waze Map

Android: Open Location In Your Map or GPS App

Flickr Gallery (Find Nearby Photos)

Wikimedia Commons (Find Nearby Photos)

Directions Via Sygic For Android

Directions Via Sygic For iOS and Android Dolphin Browser

Home Top


About - Contact

© Copyright 2003-2023, HistoricBridges.org. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer: HistoricBridges.org is a volunteer group of private citizens. HistoricBridges.org is NOT a government agency, does not represent or work with any governmental agencies, nor is it in any way associated with any government agency or any non-profit organization. While we strive for accuracy in our factual content, HistoricBridges.org offers no guarantee of accuracy. Information is provided "as is" without warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied. Information could include technical inaccuracies or errors of omission. Opinions and commentary are the opinions of the respective HistoricBridges.org member who made them and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone else, including any outside photographers whose images may appear on the page in which the commentary appears. HistoricBridges.org does not bear any responsibility for any consequences resulting from the use of this or any other HistoricBridges.org information. Owners and users of bridges have the responsibility of correctly following all applicable laws, rules, and regulations, regardless of any HistoricBridges.org information.

Admin Login