This enormous bridge is one of the longest historic cantilever truss spans surviving in the United States today, with a main span of 1,200 feet. At the time of completion, this was the longest cantilever truss span in the United States. The bridge is also a rare and highly significant example of a fixed (non-movable) bridge designed by famous engineer Joseph Strauss, whose main claim to fame was the design of bascule bridges. Note that Strauss was listed as the chief engineer for the Golden Gate Bridge, but he in fact did very little of the design work. Perhaps Strauss played a larger role in the design of this bridge, however. This bridge is highly significant due to its span length, but it also is noted for its unusual design details, including member sizing that differs from that found on other cantilever truss bridges. For example the diagonal members adjacent to the main vertical posts are heavier in design than the main post itself. The overall shape of the cantilever truss is somewhat unusual as well. Careful observers will also find the bridge's numerous unused holes that were used as temporary pin connections for assisting in the construction and erection of the bridge.
This bridge continues to carry heavy traffic with numerous trucks as well in an industrial setting. Despite this the bridge retains excellent historic integrity with no major alterations. The physical condition of the bridge also appears to be very good. Hopefully this will continue to be the case given the significance of the bridge.
Joseph Strauss proposed a bridge of similar design for Port Huron, Michigan and Sarnia, Ontario, but it was rejected, likely in part due to an unusual approach configuration.
The steel stringer approaches and bents at the north end of the bridge were reconstructed ca. 1950. The new bents still retain a traditional riveted design with lacing and so despite not being original they still math the design and appearance of the bridge. However, the pin and hanger details of the steel stringers are a typical 1950s construction practice.
Above: Historical photo showing bridge construction. Erection of the suspended span is in progress here.
Above: Historical mid-20th century photo of bridge.
Above: Historical photo of bridge.
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