BNSF Platte River Bridge (La Platte)

Large Through Truss Bridge over Platte River
Plattsmouth, Cass County, Nebraska
Bellevue, Sarpy County, Nebraska

Click the Photo Above to See All Photos of This Bridge!
Name BNSF Platte River Bridge (La Platte)
Built By Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad
Contractor Unknown
Currently Owned By BNSF Railway
Length 1450 Feet Total, 130 Foot Main Spans
Width 1 Track
Height Above Ground 10 Feet (Estimated)
Superstructure Type Pratt and Baltimore Through Truss, Through and Deck Girder and Concrete Slab
Substructure Type Concrete
Date Built 1910, Significantly Rebuilt 1922
Traffic Count 5 Trains/Day (Estimated)
Current Status In Use
BNSF Bridge Number 0.95
Significance Moderate Significance
In 1871, the Omaha and South Western Railroad built a line from Oreapolis, Nebraska to Bellevue, Nebraska.
By 1885, an expansion would be made into Omaha. It would be quickly sold to the Omaha and North Platte Railroad.

The Omaha & North Platte desired to continue building west, reaching Ashland by 1888. They would continue north towards Fremont from that point.

The two railroads combined formed a loop, to allow Chicago, Burlington & Quincy trains to enter Omaha. The CB&Q mainline bypassed Omaha about 10 miles to the south.

The railroads became a full part of the CB&Q in 1908, which invested money to heavily rebuild the two.

The CB&Q continued operations of this route until 1970, when they merged with Great Northern and Northern Pacific to form Burlington Northern.

By 1996, the BN merged with Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe to form BNSF Railway, the current owner of this line. It is currently known as the Omaha Subdivision.

One of the more unique, yet less recognized structures in the Omaha area is this massive bridge, crossing the Platte River next to US-75.
The bridge features several distinct types of construction, which represent two different periods.
First, the bridge is massive. There is no other way to describe it. It features five truss spans, and countless girder spans.
In addition, the bridge sits next to the less significant Union Pacific Bridge, which is only built of girders.
The first bridge was constructed in 1910. It featured several truss spans. Two of these spans can still be seen in the current structure.
On the south end, a pair of concrete slab spans approach a trio of trusses. The southern two trusses are a pair of pin connected, 6 panel Pratt Through Trusses.
These trusses are of original 1910 construction, although the portal bracing appears to have been replaced on them.
The third truss span is a 1922 era riveted, 6 panel Baltimore Through Truss span with heavy connections.
A through girder, and 11 deck girders make up the middle spans of the structure.
On the north end, two more Pratt Through Trusses make up the remaining trusses. These 6 panel, riveted structures are distinct from the other Pratt Trusses, because of the A-Frame portal and riveted connections. It is unknown when these were constructed.
These are part of the 1922 rebuild. Two more concrete slab spans approach on the north side.

Because of the vague details listed in reports for this bridge, it is possible that spans were built at different times than listed, or were relocated from previous locations.
One of the greatest challenges I face while documenting these bridges is finding an accurate set of details. Unfortunately, I cannot provide more for this bridge. If anyone has any further information, please do not hesitate to contact me.

The bridge has quite a unique set of details. It is hoped that the author can get closer to the bridge for a better inspection soon.
Presently, the only views offered are from the banks of the south side, which is steep and not advised.
The author has ranked the bridge as being moderately significant, due to the large size and mix of designs. However, a higher rating was not given due to the partially unknown history.

The photo above is an overview.

Platte River Railroad Bridges
Upstream UP Platte River Bridge (La Platte)
Downstream Confluence with Missouri River


Source Type


1910 Build Date Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad report
1922 Build Date Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad report
Railroad Line History Source ICC Valuation Information, Compiled by Richard S. Steele

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