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Rockford Railroad Bridge

Rockford Railroad Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: March 6, 2006

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Railroad (White Pine Rail-Trail) Over Rogue River
Rockford: Kent County, Michigan: United States
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1898 By Builder/Contractor: Detroit Bridge and Iron Works of Detroit, Michigan

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
134 Feet (40.8 Meters)
Structure Length
134 Feet (40.8 Meters)
Roadway Width
Not Available
1 Main Span(s)
NBI Number
Not Applicable

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

This is a beautiful example of a railroad bridge. It is noted for its skew which appears be about forty-five degrees. This gives the bridge a distinctive appearance. The bridge is an eight panel through truss with pinned connections. The bridge sits on stone abutments. Both types of v-lacing are present on this bridge. The vertical members feature the normal v-lacing that is almost always the type seen on highway truss bridges where each piece of the lacing is a bar with rounded ends, and each end has a single rivet holding it in place on top of the adjacent lacing bar. Under the top chord is the more unusual style usually found on railroad bridges. In this type, each piece of v-lacing is a bar with no rounded ends and has its own two rivets connecting it to the beam, rather than sharing the rivet with another piece of the v-lacing. Lattice is present on the sway bracing. For a railroad bridge, the portal bracing is rather ornate. It has cloverleaf type designs on the main part of the bracing, with a cloverleaf and two teardrop shapes on the corners of the bracing. This certainly is an unusual railroad bridge, and it has a lot of beauty as well. The clover leaves on the portal bracing are something shared with some other truss bridges that were associated with Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad, which is who apparently designed this bridge. That said, few examples of these uniquely decorated railroad truss bridges remain nationwide today, and so this is a significant historic bridge.

More recently, this bridge was previously part of the Michigan Northern Railway, which stopped running trains on the line in 1984. Thanks to Les Hale for providing this historical tidbit. The bridge is today converted for pedestrian use. Conversion was limited to removing the tracks and putting a new deck in, as well as adding somewhat unsightly cyclone fencing for railing on the bridge. No structural work of note appears to have been done to the truss itself, which is unaltered and retains good historic integrity.


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Maps and Links: Rockford Railroad Bridge

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