Dexterville Rail Bridge

Parker Pony Truss Bridge over Yellow River
Dexterville, Wood County, Wisconsin

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Name Dexterville Rail Bridge
Built By Green Bay & Western Railroad
Contractor Unknown
Currently Owned By Canadian National Railway
Length 172 Feet Total, 86 Foot Spans
Width 1 Track
Height Above Ground 10 Feet (Estimated)
Superstructure Type Parker Pony Truss
Substructure Type Stone Masonry and Steel Caisson
Date Built Ca. 1902
Traffic Count 3 Trains/Day (Estimated)
Current Status In Use
CN Bridge Number 110.4
Significance Moderate Significance
In 1871, the Green Bay & Lake Pepin Railroad began construction of a line across the State of Wisconsin from the lower West Central Portion at East Winona to the mid-northeast area at Green Bay.

This line would transverse Wisconsin as a diangonal, with the first section opening in 1871 between Green Bay and New London, in Outagamie County.

The bulk of the line opened in 1873, from New London to Marshland, at the connection with a Chicago & Northwestern Mainline.

The final piece opened in 1883 between Marshland and Winona, a short 2 mile section. This forced the railroad to end at the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy mainline.

A joint project was undertaken by the GB&LP and the CB&Q in 1891 to construct a bridge across the Mississippi River into Winona to bypass the Chicago & Northwestern Structure.

By 1896, the railroad was absorbed by a new railroad called the Green Bay & Western, who also purchased a few other smaller railroads. This line made up the bulk of the system by far.

The Green Bay Western operated this line until 1993, when it was merged into the Wisconsin Central Ltd, who began chopping up the system something awful.
The WCL was purchased by the Canadian National Railway in 2001, who operates sections of this line.

While the bridge bridge across the Mississippi River was closed in 1984, and burned in 1989, and demolished in 1990, the rest of the line was whole until the WCL takeover.

The bulk of the line from East Winona (now a BNSF Railway Junction) to Plover (where it had a connection to Stevens Point) is still intact and used regularly.

From Plover to Manawa is the Tomorrow River State Trail, with Scandinavia to Plover being abandoned 1994, and Manawa to Scandinavia being abandoned 2000.

From Manawa to New London is still active.

From New London to Seymour is the Newton Blackmour State Trail, with the remaining chunk expected to be completed in 2016 to Green Bay.
This portion was abandoned in 2001.
Today, not much remains of the northern end of the GBW, however the southern end is operated as the Canadian National Whitehall Subdivision.

This unique Parker Pony Truss span crosses the Yellow River at Dexterville.
The bridge was built in approximately 1902 to replace an older type bridge. The trusses are built with 6-Panel Riveted Parker Pony Trusses.
This design of truss is exclusive to this line in Wisconsin. A similar bridge at Dodge exists further west on this line.
Other Parker Pony Trusses exist in the Midwest, mainly in Missouri along the Katy Trail. One example can be seen in Case, Missouri.
The substructures are made of stone, with the center pier being a steel pile design. The bridge sits parallel to WI-54.

The author has ranked this bridge as being moderately significant, due to the unique design of the bridge.
The photo above is an overview.


Source Type


Build Date Estimated based on similar bridges
Railroad Line History Source ICC Valuation Information, Compiled by Richard S. Steele

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