Saving the Upper Bluffton Bridge PDF Print E-mail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - June 9, 2011

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GRINNELL, IA - A collaboration of new bridge builders and bridge preservationists was formed in Iowa today between Brennan Construction of Lansing, Iowa and Workin’ Bridges, a part of the N. Skunk River Greenbelt Association from Grinnell, Iowa.  Brennan Construction won the bid to replace the Upper Bluffton Bridge, an 1880 Wrought Iron Bridge Co.  Pratt through truss bridge, let by the Iowa Department of Transportation. Communications between the Winneshiek County Engineer, Lee Bjerke, Marty Brennan, Nels Raynor of BACH Steel and Julie Bowers started in late May. All parties are interested in preserving the truss bridge for alternative use.  “I put up new bridges’, said Marty Brennan, owner of Brennan Construction. “I have no love for scrapping the old ones, so if we can work something out to help preserve this bridge, we will”.

This partnership is a new way to look at costs of historic truss bridge preservation. By working with the bridge company we can utilize their cranes which are a big expense. Through the philanthropy of the construction company we can match our potential for in-kind donations. It is a win-win situation. The Upper Bluffton Bridge was placed on the Register of Historic Properties in 1992 which allows it to be eligible for preservation funding on a state and federal level. Workin’ Bridges assessed the bridge and is confident that it can be restored to maximum loading capabilities.  We are currently working with the State Historic Preservation Office to request permission for the move that will leave the bridge on the Historic Register. “That permission has not yet been granted but we expect it any day,” said Julie Bowers, Executive Director of NSRGA and construction manager for Workin’ Bridges. “Each piece of the puzzle has to happen more quickly than normal and we thank everyone for helping us to move this project along”.

NSRGA & Workin’ Bridges is sponsoring a benefit concert featuring David Zollo at the Fish Hatchery in Decorah on Tuesday, June 14, 2011 at 6:00pm, with music going until dark. David hasn’t performed in Decorah for awhile and is looking forward to returning. There is no cover but a suggested donation for the Saving of the Upper Bluffton Bridge is encouraged. Bring a blanket, picnic basket and enjoy a nice evening by the falls, or take a walk down the trail to view another of Winneshiek County’s historic bowstring bridges that has been preserved on the trail.

BACH Steel has been collaborating with Workin’ Bridges to assess bridges all over the U.S. After the bridge is lifted from it’s abuttments, the crew will disassemble each vertical, eyebar and transverse beam, before transporting to storage in Grinnell. A thorough dimensioning and photographic  documentation will be conducted at that time. We send that information  to our structural engineers, who will model and determine the load rating. Workin’ Bridges will put the bridge back up at Millgrove Access Wildlife Area in Poweshiek County where it will become the entrance to the area and solve a needed problem of river channelization over the lane that ends in the King Iron bowstring bridge from 1883, the McIntyre. An historic bridge park will be born and the people and history of Winneshiek County will not be forgotten.

Workin’ Bridges is a part of The N. Skunk River Greenbelt Association (NSRGA), a non-profit with the goal of restoring the McIntyre Bridge in Poweshiek County Iowa. “I needed Workin’ Bridges last year”, Bowers said, “in time to keep our King bowstring bridge from the river and restore it. Instead, too much  bureaucratic time taken resulted in the bridge being swept downstream in an unusual flood in August of 2010. It cost us a lot of time and money. BACH Steel and lessons in historic metal have made me a believer in these bridges. All the knowledge that I’ve gained over the past year and a half is helping others’ decision making. Donations are accepted for Upper Bluffton Bridge dismantle and repair and may be mailed to NSRGA, PO Box 332, Grinnell, IA 50112. or with our online donation system at www.skunkriverbridge.org. Check us out at Workin’ Bridges on Facebook to keep up to date with photos from the Upper Bluffton Bridge Move.

 
Upper Bluffton Iron Bridge Needs New Home PDF Print E-mail

GREAT NEWS. Collaboration between Brennan Construction and Workin' Bridges has been agreed upon - work has commenced to work out the details. Brennan will assist BACH Steel in the disassembly of the Upper Bluffton Bridge. We are working with SHPO but tentatively the bridge will have to go to Millgrove Access where we intend to install it at the gate area to cover where the river likes to run through. The Historic Register requires a place for a listed bridge to go. Unless, of course, anyone has a better offer for this bridge. Winneshiek County is also helping. This may be a precedent. What a cost saver when pulling a bridge, those cranes are the most expensive component to this effort. Thanks to Marty Brennan for his foresight and willingness to work with us before this structure is destroyed - scheduled for June 14.

Can you bridge hunters help us?

Donations to help with the removal and disassembly, estimated to cost barebones with travel, time, people around $10,000. If you would like to help this is a tax write-off. This is the time where WE can make a difference. It's easy. www.skunkriverbridge.org. NSRGA is a 501(c)(3) corporation. All donations are acknowledged, legal, and gratefully excepted. Thanks.

Julie Bowers

Executive Director

NSRGA / Workin' Bridges

641.260.1262

 
Antique Historic Pratt Iron Truss Bridge For Sale PDF Print E-mail

 Workin' Bridges salvages, rescues, rehabilitates and restores historic bridge. We have many in inventory that are available for purchase or we can look for one that suits your specific requirements.  Our current inventory has antique bridges 13 to 20 feet wide, 40 to 200 feet long, and still able to carry a load.

Our featured bridge is the Upper Bluffton, an 1880 102' Pratt pin connected truss built by the Wrought Iron Bridge Company and listed on the Historic Register in 1992.

Workin' Bridges will restore and ship the bridge to a new location and set it in place.   We will provide the bridge load rating as determined by a structural engineer along with piers and approach details. Many of our bridges still carry vehicular traffic. T he finish is up to the owner.

  • Residential and Commercial Properties
  • Pedestrian & Equestrian Trails
  • Ranches/Farms/Haciendas
  • Trails

Please call for pricing.

 
Riverfront Park Assesses Use of Historic Bridges PDF Print E-mail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

GRINNELL, IOWA– Workin’ Bridges visited Fort Scott, Kansas on April 6 & 7th at the request of the Bourbon County Commissioners and the Fort Scott Bourbon County Riverfront Authority. We were asked to address the future of the Long Shoals through truss bridge on 260th Avenue in northeast Bourbon County. The assessment of the 1902 Parker steel truss bridge, built by the Midland Bridge Company of Kansas City, Missouri has been delivered to Bourbon County and Dean Mann of the Riverfront Authority.

The bridge is at risk from tree roots growing through the stone abuttments, tree trunks tangled in the eyebars and vines entwined around the verticals. There are also three floor beams missing, actually torn from the bottom of the riveted verticals. Workin’ Bridges has worked with Nels Raynor of BACH Steel, an historic truss bridge expert, who noted that the top chord was in great condition, no holes or section loss apparent, beams were missing, and there was significant pack rust on the portals, but overall, the bridge is worth saving. “The portals need some work”, Raynor said, “but they are so massive and decorative, that’s the part people will remember.”

Workin’ Bridges has compiled an assessment for the Long Shoals Bridge, which included an estimate for the bridge lift and disassembly for the move to Fort Scott, and for the restoration and reset over the Marmaton River in Riverfront Park for use as a pedestrian bridge. Workin’ Bridges was also asked to assess the Military Bridge,  a three span King Iron Bridge Co., bowstring iron truss built in the early 1880’s. The bridge was closed in 1969 and in 1974 the planks burned off. This bridge will be planked for use on the trail that loops 2.5 miles out of Fort Scott and can be utilized by pedestrians and equestrians. The Missouri Pacific Railroad Bridge at 2nd Street in Fort Scott was also assessed for trail use.

The commissioners and visionaries for Riverfront Park were pleased that they might be able to use another piece of the county’s history in the park. This could provide a solution to keep the Long Shoals Bridge from falling into the river, where the county would still be responsible for the expense of removal and still provide a pedestrian bridge for use in the park at a lower cost.  Dean Mann said, “If we can secure the funding for this project it will add an unique element for visitors to experience when visiting the park.” More information about the park at www.riverauthority.org.

Workin’ Bridges is a part of The N. Skunk River Greenbelt Association (NSRGA), a non-profit dedicated to historic truss bridges and greenbelt restoration, and the goal of restoring the McIntyre Bridge in Poweshiek County Iowa. “I needed Workin’ Bridges last year”, stated Julie Bowers, executive director of NSRGA, “in time to keep our King bowstring bridge from the river and restore it. Instead, too much bureaucracy resulted in the bridge being swept downstream in an unusual flood in August of 2010. It cost us a lot of time and money but it is worth it to preserve this little piece of our heritage. BACH Steel and lessons in historic ironworking have made me a believer in these bridges. Workin’ Bridges is about saving other folks the money and devastation that is involved in pulling a bridge from the river. All the knowledge that we have gained over the past year and a half is helping others’ decision making. In this economy where budgets and charitable giving is harder to find, we are willing to work for affordable historic bridge repair and reuse.” Donations are accepted for bridge repair and may be mailed to NSRGA, PO Box 332, Grinnell, IA 50112 or www.skunkriverbridge.org.

Workin' Bridges is a part of NSRGA - a non-profit organization - dedicated to historic truss bridge & greenbelt restoration.

 
Workin' Bridges Assesses Springfield, Arkansas Bowstring PDF Print E-mail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

GRINNELL, IOWA – Workin’ Bridges visited Faulkner County, Arkansas on April 7th  & 8th  at the request of Judge Preston Scroggin to address the future of the Springfield bowstring truss bridge built in 1874 by the King Bridge Co. of Cleveland, Ohio. The iron bridge is just off Springfield Rd over the Cabron Creek dividing Faulkner and Conway counties and is listed on the National Historic Register of Places.

Originally we thought we could fix the bridge in place with a tune up and new decking, but significant damage to the piers indicates that the bridge should be pulled.  There was more skewing evident between December photos and April photos, indicating that the bridge is at risk with trees adding stress. There was evidence of lead paint and loose or missing fittings, so we would advocate for a full restoration & rehabilitation before resetting back over the river where it has been for nearly 140 years.

The craftsman's record and the engineering history in this bridge has been very interesting to note. We think that one of the ends on both spans should be in the other's spot which would result in less skewing of the top chord. The engineering required to bring this bridge up to where Mr. King was in his later designs is the interesting element and will be decided by the engineers when they are able to model the bridge as it is and as it was shown in recent decking plans. Workin’ Bridges expert bridge restorationist, Nels Raynor noted that the top chord was in great condition, no holes or section loss apparent but the decking needed to come out and the vertical connections, while intact, were loose. The stone piers also need repairs so the bridge will have to be pulled from the piers for repair. The bridge is definitely historic and worth fixing up, Raynor stated, “it will look brand new when it is finished.”

Workin’ Bridges has compiled an assessment for the Springfield Bridge, which includes an estimate for the bridge lift and disassembly, and for the restoration and reset over the Cabron Creek where it has been for over 135 years. It will be a destination spot for both counties.  Judge Scroggin replied by email, “We like to do unique projects -- it is a very good report.  I have forwarded to our funding agencies and are moving forward as we speak  I think we are going to be successful.”

Workin’ Bridges is a part of The N. Skunk River Greenbelt Association (NSRGA), a non-profit dedicated to historic truss bridges and greenbelt restoration, and the goal of restoring the McIntyre Bridge in Poweshiek County Iowa. “I needed Workin’ Bridges last year”, stated Julie Bowers, executive director of NSRGA, “in time to keep our King bowstring bridge from the river and restore it. Instead, too much bureaucracy resulted in the bridge being swept downstream in an unusual flood in August of 2010. It cost us a lot of time and money but it is worth it to preserve this little piece of our heritage. BACH Steel and lessons in historic ironworking have made me a believer in these bridges. Workin’ Bridges is about saving other folks the money and devastation that is involved in pulling a bridge from the river. All the knowledge that we have gained over the past year and a half is helping others’ decision making. In this economy where budgets and charitable giving is harder to find, we are willing to work for affordable historic bridge repair and reuse.” Donations are accepted for bridge repair and may be mailed to NSRGA, PO Box 332, Grinnell, IA 50112 or www.skunkriverbridge.org. Contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call 641.260.1262.

 
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