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Milwaukee River Railroad Bridge

Milwaukee River Railroad Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Dave Michaels

Bridge Documented: September 13, 2009

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Railroad (Chicago and Northwestern) Over Milwaukee River
Milwaukee: Milwaukee County, Wisconsin: United States
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1915 By Builder/Contractor: American Bridge Company of New York, New York

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
235 Feet (71.6 Meters)
Structure Length
395 Feet (120.4 Meters)
Roadway Width
Not Available
1 Main Span(s)
NBI Number
Not Applicable

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
View Information About HSR Ratings

Bridge Documentation

This bridge was built 1915 to replace a circa 1890 double-track swing bridge. 

Lattice trusses (sometimes called Warren Quadrangular trusses) range from uncommon to rare on a national scale, but are much more common locally in Wisconsin and particularly Milwaukee, relatively speaking. This example is further rare on a national scale as a movable lattice truss. As a swing bridge, this structure does not feature a continuous camelback shape, nor does it feature the two through spans connected by a central tower, instead it is simply a continuous trapezoidal truss. This form is a little less uncommon. The bridge tender building is mounted on the location where a tower most often was seen. Other noteworthy details include the riveted, built-up beams which support the wires on the bridge.

There are a few tanks of unknown purpose on this bridge. Two were seen laying on the deck, another wedged in the members of the truss web. It is unclear if these serve a purpose for the bridge (such as being filled with concrete and acting as counterweights) or if they are just a sign of a railroad owner who left them there and does not care about the appearance of their historic bridge.

This bridge is now abandoned, and the approach at one end has been converted for pedestrian use as a scenic outlook. The bridge has not swung closed for trains since March 2006.

Above: Aerial view of bridge, August 20, 2020. Click for enlargement. Photo Credit: Doug Heim, Angelcopter, LLC

Above: Aerial view of bridge, August 20, 2020. Click for enlargement. Photo Credit: Doug Heim, Angelcopter, LLC


Photo Galleries and Videos: Milwaukee River Railroad Bridge

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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
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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 Video
Drone Footage, Courtesy Doug Heim, Angelcopter, LLC
Full Motion Video
Note: The downloadable high quality version of this video (available on the video page) is well worth the download since it offers excellent 1080 HD detail and is vastly more impressive than the compressed streaming video. Streaming video of the bridge. Also includes a higher quality downloadable video for greater clarity or offline viewing.


Maps and Links: Milwaukee River Railroad Bridge

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