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On 100 years ago: Lawrence residents vote for new bridge


Stephanie Hull 4 years, 9 months ago

Is this bridge (the one presumably finished in 1915) the one that was torn down in the 1970s to make way for the two that we have now? I was pretty little when it was replaced, but I remember it as being much prettier than the current ones.

agitatedbacon 4 years, 9 months ago

sjgreen: Yes. The 1917 bridge was an open spandrel concrete arch bridge, a graceful type of structure that has fallen victim to rabid "value engineering" in highway projects. Ugly steel plate girder bridges are significantly cheaper (and weren't technically feasible in in the 1910's). The only state still building small scale concrete arch bridges is Oregon - they have a forward thinking highway department and a strong heritage of building architecturally significant bridges.

The "old old" bridge was actually several bridges cobbled together into one. I haven't found a solid date for the original construction, only that it began as a wooden truss in the 1860's or early 1870's. As spans flooded and collapsed, they were replaced with wrought iron or steel trusses. You can see some pictures of both the old and the first bridges here:


If you scroll down and look at the 1908 postcard, you can tell that the bridge is made up of several different types of trusses which were probably built at different times. I think that the spans on the left side were the original design and the ones on the right were probably replacements.

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