Fairview Rail Bridge

Warren Pony Truss Bridge over Big Sioux River
Near Rock Valley, Sioux County, Iowa
Fairview, Lincoln County, South Dakota

Click the Photo Above to See All Photos of This Bridge!
Name Fairview Rail Bridge
Built By Chicago, Milwaukee St. Paul & Pacific Railway
Contractor (Truss) Lakeside Bridge & Steel Company of North Milwaukee
Currently Owned By D&I Railroad
Length 570 Feet Total, 138 Foot Main Span
Width 1 Track
Height Above Ground 15 Feet (Estimated)
Superstructure Type Warren Pony Truss, Through Girder and Trestle
Substructure Type Concrete and Timber Pile
Date Fabricated (Girders) 1905
Original Location (Girders) Bridge #B-28; Wauwatosa, Wisconsin
Date Built 1911, Truss added 1932; Approaches Rebuilt 2014
Traffic Count 2 Trains/Day (Estimated)
Current Status In Use
D&I Bridge Number T-618
Significance Moderate Significance
Documentation Date December 2014
In 1878, the Sioux City & Pembina Railway built a line from Elk Point, South Dakota to Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

The line crossed across the Big Sioux a number of times, crossing between Iowa and South Dakota.

The line was merged into the Sioux City and Dakota Railroad in 1879.

By 1881, the line became a branch of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway, also known as the Milwaukee Road.

In 1913, following an escapade to the Pacific Ocean, the railroad became known as the Chicago, Milwaukee St. Paul & Pacific Railway.

Heading north out of Sioux Falls, the Milwaukee Road also operated a branch to North Dakota.

By 1981, with the Milwaukee Road falling to bankruptcy, the Dakota & Iowa (D&I) Railroad was formed as a joint coalition between Iowa and South Dakota to operate the former branch to Sioux City.

Today, D&I continues to operate the line from Sioux Falls to Sioux City, as well as the Dell Rapids branch.

Located at the town of Fairview, this heavily constructed truss bridge is one of several crossings of the Big Sioux River on this line.
The girder spans were originally built in 1905 as a bridge across the Menomonee River at Wauwautosa, Wisconsin. When the river was straightened, the bridges were then removed for reuse.
In 1911, the through girder spans were moved here and approached by trestle. A truss was installed in 1932, and the through girders reused as approaches.
The main truss span is a design typical of the Milwaukee Road during the early 1930s. It features 8 panels, riveted connections and large rolled members. When the truss was installed, concrete piers were also constructed. The remaining substructures are built of timber piles.
An identical truss span is located a few miles south near Hudson, and was reportedly built the same year by the same company. It is unknown if Lakeside Bridge built other spans as well.
In 2014, the trestle approaches to the bridge sustained heavy damage and were repaired with new steel stringer spans.

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

Big Sioux River Railroad Bridges
Upstream Canton Rail Bridge
Downstream Oak Ridge Rail Bridge


Source Type


Build Date Milwaukee Road Bridge Records at the South Dakota State Historical Society
Contractor Milwaukee Road Bridge Records at the South Dakota State Historical Society
Railroad Line History Source ICC Valuation Information, Compiled by Richard S. Steele

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