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Walnut Street Bridge

Walnut Street Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: October 28, 2006 and November 11, 2014

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Walnut Street Over Tennessee River
Location
Chattanooga: Hamilton County, Tennessee: United States
Structure Type
Metal 16 Panel Pin-Connected Pennsylvania Through Truss, Fixed and Approach Spans: Metal Stringer (Multi-Beam), Fixed
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1891 By Builder/Contractor: Smith Bridge Company of Toledo, Ohio and Engineer/Design: Edwin Thacher

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
1993
Main Span Length
320 Feet (97.54 Meters)
Structure Length
2370 Feet (722.38 Meters)
Roadway Width
Not Available
Spans
6 Main Span(s)
NBI Number
Not Applicable

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)

Bridge Documentation

View Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) Documentation For This Bridge

HAER Data Pages, PDF

This bridge is a Pennsylvania through truss with pinned connections. The top chord and end posts are organized into the five parts, making it technologically similar to a Camelback truss as opposed to a Parker truss. HAER has an extensive set of data sheets that detail the rich history of this structure.

As an overview, this bridge is one of the most significant bridges in the United States, and thankfully it has been restored for pedestrian use. Unlike the rest of Tennessee, who has publicly declared that it will be demolishing nearly all of its truss bridges, Chattanooga has made the decision that benefits everybody, from historians, bridge enthusiasts, to people who simply cross the bridge for pleasure or purpose. The bridge is a landmark and an attraction for the city, and will likely help bring further prosperity and tourism to the city. The restoration was well done, most notably, leaving historically correct railings on the bridge, is a rare but welcome asset to the restored bridge. There have been other insensitive modifications to the structure, but these may predate the recent restoration. Most blatant is the welding of i-beams on top of the portal bracing, which is quite detrimental to the proper appearance of the bridge.

The bridge was completed in 1891 and as a large landmark structure, this is likely the largest remaining monument to the skill and capabilities of the Smith Bridge Company, a prolific late 19th century bridge company. As a Pennsylvania truss, it utilizes one of the most visually impressive, intricate truss configurations. The approach system at the northern end of the bridge, supported by complex wrought iron bents, is not to be overlooked either, nor are the very tall stone piers. All of this is topped off with an ornate portal bracing, which also features a large plaque made up of smaller Smith Bridge Company style plaques that resemble individual plaques found on smaller through truss bridges built by the company.

A special thanks to Dave Michaels for visiting this bridge and providing his numerous and magnificent photos to HistoricBridges.org, taken in 2006. These photos have been supplemented by additional HistoricBridges.org photo galleries from 2014. Be sure to view both sets of photos as excellent photos can be found in each.


This bridge is tagged with the following special condition(s): Arch Lattice Railing

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Photo Galleries and Videos: Walnut Street Bridge

 
View Photo Gallery
2014 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
2014 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
View Photo Gallery
2006 Original / Full Size Gallery
Original / Full Size Photos
For the best visual immersion and full detail, or for use as a desktop background, this gallery presents selected overview and detail photos for this bridge in the original digital camera resolution, taken by Dave Michaels. 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
2006 Structure Overview
Mobile Optimized Photos
A collection of overview photos that show the bridge as a whole and general areas of the bridge, taken by Dave Michaels. This gallery features data-friendly, fast-loading photos in a touch-friendly popup viewer. Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer
View Photo Gallery
2006 Structure Details
Mobile Optimized Photos
A collection of detail photos that document the parts, construction, and condition of the bridge, taken by Dave Michaels. This gallery features data-friendly, fast-loading photos in a touch-friendly popup viewer. Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer

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