Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Other Bridges that are called "High Bridge"

© Copyright David Dixon and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons License
As already posted in this blog, the oldest bridge in the United Kingdom with buildings on it is located in Lincoln, England, apparently having been built originally around 1160 over the Witham River.

Other namesakes of our Harlem River Bridge are the following:

High Bridge over Dix and Kentucky Rivers, KY

In the early 1850s, the Lexington and Danville Railroad began the construction of a railroad bridge at a location just below the confluence of the Kentucky and Dix Rivers. Originally planned as a suspension bridge, it was designed by John Roebling, who would later design the famous Brooklyn Bridge in New York City. At the same time, John Roebling was working on a suspension bridge across the Niagara river gorge that would connect the New York Central and Great Western Railway of Canada. In March 1855, when the first locomotive and train crossed the Niagara suspension bridge, it was considered a triumph of engineering and demonstrated the feasibility of the Kentucky River bridge. Sadly, the finances of the Lexington and Danville Railroad could not sustain the construction. The towers for the suspension bridge were build, but little else.

In the aftermath of the Civil War, a major north-south railroad route was deemed vitally important. The Cincinnati Southern Railroad picked up where the defunct Lexington and Danville railroad had left off. A new cantilever bridge was designed by Charles Shaler Smith to be built at the same location as the previously planned suspension bridge.

Shaler, as he was known, was an engineering officer in the Confederate army during the Civil War. He designed the Confederate Powder Works in Augusta, Georgia. Following the war, he became well known as the foremost American engineer of the day. His Baltimore Bridge Company, a partnership with Benjamin and Charles Latrobe, boasted of creating 13 miles of bridges in its advertising, including four bridges over the Mississippi, one over the Missouri, and one over the Saint Lawrence. Shaler was known for innovative solutions to engineering challenges.

His use of a cantilever design for the bridge helped solve the difficult construction challenge of the 275 feet deep gorge of the Kentucky River. The cantilever meant that minimal scaffolding was necessary; the arms of the bridge could be built out from the piers, balancing each other without the need for falsework.

When the bridge was completed in 1877, it was not only the first cantilever bridge in North America, but also the highest and longest cantilever in the world. The completed bridge stood 275 feet tall and spanned 1,125 feet. Until the early 20th century, the bridge held the record as the highest bridge over a navigable stream.

High Bridge, as it became known, ushered in the era of modern bridge building. The engineering marvel was dedicated by President Rutherford B. Hayes in 1879. The American Society of Civil Engineers designated High Bridge as an engineering landmark in 1986. A model of the bridge can be found in the American History Museum of the Smithsonian Institute.

The High Bridge over the Appomattox in Virginia
High Bridge over the Appomattox River at Farmville, Virginia. 
                     Photograph by Timothy H. O'Sullivan , 1865

Eau Claire, Wisconsin High Bridge

The High Bridge spans the Chippewa River in Eau Claire, between the Madison Street bridge and Dells Pond dam. Formerly used by Chicago & Northwestern Railroad, the bridge will be converted this fall for use by pedestrians and bicyclists as part of the area’s recreational trail system. 
St. Paul High Bridge
The St. Paul Minnesota High Bridge
The original St. Paul High Bridge was a wrough-iron bridge, believed to be among the highest in the country when it opened in 1889.  After the introduction of automobiles, in 1904 it suffered a partial collapse during a heavy storm.  The bridge was rebuilt with steel spans that lasted for most of the 20th century.  The bridge was closed in the summer of 1984 and demolished in February 1985 and a new replacement High Bridge was opened two years later at a cost of $20 million.
The High Bridge carries one lane of vehicular traffic in each direction over the Mississippi River with a deck height of 160 feet above the river. There is an 8 foot shoulder on each side for a breakdown lane and bicycle traffic.  It is scheduled to be resurfaced in 2017.

If you know of another "High Bridge" please comment about it below and we will put some information about it here on this page.

last modified 7/15/2015

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