Mystery Bridge Nr. 115: A box culvert with a very unique design

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ELDORADO, IOWA- Approximately 300 feet west of the Eldorado Truss Bridge, one will find a unique diamond in the rough. Located along the north bank of the Turkey River, the first impression that I had during my visit to the bridge in 2011 (see my previous post) was that there may have been a previous crossing- like most of the bridges in Iowa- whether it was a bowstring arch bridge, a truss bridge built of iron or even a covered bridge. One of these three would have clearly fit the description given the need to cross the river from one bluff to another. However, looking at it more closely, especially at the wingwalls and abutments, it is clearly a concrete beam bridge. Unique is the art deco design on the beam span, which is almost a giveaway as to determining what bridge it is. The beam span has two rectangular shapes with a diamond shape in the middle. Most beam bridges and culverts used geometric shapes on their concrete railings when they were introduced for use beginning in 1910, which puts this structure’s build date right into the area of the first two decades of the 20th century. Spanning a creek that empties right into the river, the span is between 15 and 30 feet, which is typical for a box culvert or short-span beam bridge.

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The road that the bridge used to carry seems to have gone along the Turkey River and its north shore, having crossed the river twice- one near the site of Orange Ave. Bridge and one at the crossing at Great River Road. Both of them are two miles apart. While the stretch west of the Eldorado Truss Bridge remains in use as 292nd Street it dead ends at a farmstead before the Turkey River crossing. Only a small stretch east of the bridge exists and while much of it has been removed for farmland, one can trace it to the cylinder piers (or lally columns) of the former crossing that is next to Great River Road. A map on the Eldorado Truss Bridge page can help you trace ist origins (click here).

This leads to the following question to be cleared up:

  1. When exactly was the bridge built and by whom?
  2. When was the street, now known as 292nd Street, built and where did it lead to?
  3. What do we know about the former crossings at Great River Road and Orange Avenue, where the former road crossed before joining other streets? We do know with the lally columns at the Great River crossing it was a through truss bridge but what type is unknown…
  4. When was the street and the bridge abandoned?

 

Any photos, stories and history behind this unique bridge and road would be much appreciated. There are three ways to do it: by e-mail, using the contact info here. By posting in the comment section. And by posting in one of the facebook pages:

Abandoned Iowa Images

The Bridgehunter’s Chronicles (group/webpage)

Save the Green Bridge (now known as Historic Bridges of Iowa)

 

NOTE: For the third page, the platform has changed after a successful campaign to save the truss bridge spanning the Raccoon River. The page now focuses on historic bridges in Iowa, which includes truss and bowstring arch bridges as well as others. Click onto the link and like to follow. Despite facebook’s insistence on keeping the old name, it will eventually change to reflect on the focus on historic bridges in the state.

All photos taken in 2011.

 

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Mystery Bridge Nr. 106- A railroad bridge and a street bridge in the park.

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The 106th mystery bridge takes us back to western Saxony and in particular, the southern end of Zwickau, where at the junction of Fuchsgraben and Saarstrasse near the Glück-Auf Shopping Center, we have three bridges as part of the mix. Two of them are deck plate girder bridges (although one of them I was able to photograph during a bike tour back in September) that appear to have been dated back to the early 1920s, and it is unknown who built these structures. Each of them span Saarstrasse and have a length of 40 meters. One of the spans serves regional train service to Aue.

Even more interesting is a short, but rather beautiful concrete bridge located on the west end of the viaduct. It spans a creek that empties into the Zwickau Mulde at the Pöhlau Railroad Bridge and appears to be a box culvert. Yet the railings appear to have a Art Greco design, which is rather antique given its age. Bridges with Art Greco designs were common beginning in 1910 and while some served as railings for box culverts due to its short length, others functioned as a T-beam bridge, especially those with a length of more than 25 meters and whose railings are thick enough to support the roadway. Given its age, combined with its wear and tear, it is likely that the 10-meter long box culvert at Fuchsgraben is at least 85-90 years old. That structure has just been reincorporated into the city’s bike trail network, connecting Zwickau’s City Center and the suburbs of Planitz: Neu, Ober and Nieder. The city has plans to expand the network and make biking easier and safer for residents who live in these areas, connecting them with the existing main route along the Zwickau Mulde River.

 

If you know more about these three bridges, feel free to comment on them or provide some information via e-mail. The tour guide on Zwickau’s bridges will be updated to include this and a couple additional bridges found and documented, so any help would be much appreciated.

 

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