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calendar   Wednesday - March 04, 2020

Moving That WIBCO Phoenix Bowstring

Ok, I’m a month behind on this one.

Pick It Up And Put It Away
Minnesota Engineers Remove 1873 Kern Bridge From Crumbling Foundations
Longest bowstring arch truss in USA, one of the few Phoenix column bridges left, this iron maiden is going to be warehoused and put somewhere else, someday

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A southern Minnesota bridge nearly as old as the state itself is on the road to a new home, after being delicately moved from its precarious perch on Thursday.

Crews using a pair of cranes carefully lifted the 147-year-old, 189-foot-long Kern Bridge in one piece, off its crumbling abutments along the Le Sueur River and alongside a nearby town road.

“We were all kind of holding our breath,” said Lisa Bigham, state aid engineer for the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s District 7. “It took a while to get everything kind of in place, the cranes to be positioned where they needed to be. Then, we were just kind of watching. And then, all of a sudden you could see air in between the bridge and the abutment. And it actually went very smoothly.”

...

The Kern Bridge had spanned the Le Sueur River south of Mankato, Minn., since 1873, just 15 years after Minnesota became a state.

Also known as the Yaeger Bridge, it carried people, wagons and farm animals, then cars until being closed to traffic in the early 1990s.

MnDOT reported that it’s the only remaining example of a “bowstring arch through-truss” bridge left in Minnesota, and the longest remaining in the United States. It’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places.



The Kern Bridge was built of wrought iron in 1873 by the prolific Wrought Iron Bridge Company of Canton, OH (WIBCO), who built for the long haul; hundreds of their bridges are still in use today. As a testament to it’s strength, cranes picked up this nearly 150 year old bridge by both ends and it didn’t bend or break. Well done WIBCO.

This one is a very rare puppy though. It is of the older bowstring arch truss design, not a Pratt or a Warren through truss. And the arch is made of Phoenix columns, specially bent to order by the iron masters at the Phoenix Iron Company. So it’s rare X rare X rare. It is nearly 100% original, which is also highly rare for such an old bridge.

The bridge was closed to vehicles in 1990. Plenty of more information and photos located here.

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Phoenix columns ... are pretty riveting.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 03/04/2020 at 06:44 PM   
Filed Under: • Bridges •  
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