Falls Park Rail Bridge

Girder Bridge over Big Sioux River and Sioux Falls
Sioux Falls, Minnehaha County, South Dakota

Click the Photo Above to See All Photos of This Bridge!
Name Falls Park Rail Bridge
Built By Great Northern Railway
Contractor Unknown
Currently Owned By BNSF Railway
Length 680 Feet Total, 52 Foot Main Spans
Width 1 Track
Height Above Ground 40 Feet (Estimated)
Superstructure Type Through Girder and I-Beam
Substructure Type Concrete
Date Built 1902 and 1947
Traffic Count 4 Trains/Day (Estimated)
Current Status In Use
BNSF Bridge Number 0.2
Significance Local Significance
In 1888, the Watertown & Sioux Falls Railway was charted to build between Watertown and Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

The railroad was graded in 1888, however wouldn't build the line until 1904, when the Sioux Falls to Colton portion was built.

In 1905, they extended to Rutland, and by 1907 reached Watertown.

The railroad was absorbed by the Great Northern Railway in 1922.

The line became part of Burlington Northern in a 1970 merger which involved rival Northern Pacific.

By 1972, BN abandoned from Watertown to Hayti, and abandoned from Wentworth to Hayti in 1980.

The BN became a part of the BNSF Railway in 1996, following a merger with the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway.

The line currently connects to a spur in Wentworth, and is known as the Madison Subdivision.

While it may not be the most unique bridge in the area, this massive bridge crosses a local landmark.
Crossing above Sioux Falls, the bridge features 8 through girder spans and a number of I-Beam spans.
Originally, the bridge consisted of three Howe Truss spans. However, these were replaced in 1902.
In 1947, a series of eight secondhand I-Beams were relocated from an unknown location. These took the place of a large wooden trestle.
It is presently unknown where the eight I-Beams would be relocated from, or when they were originally constructed.
The entire bridge rests on concrete substructures. The bridge is one of the more iconic structures in Sioux Falls.
Overall, the bridge remains in good condition. It's immediate future is clouded, due to plans to relocate freight routes away from the town center.

Historic Photo
Historic photo of the previous bridge

The author has ranked this bridge as being locally significant, due to the newer age and common design.
The photo above is an overview of the bridge. It can easily be accessed from the surrounding park.

Big Sioux River Railroad Bridges
Upstream IC Big Sioux River Bridge
Downstream BNSF Big Sioux River Bridge/td>


Source Type


Build Date Great Northern Railway AFE list
I-Beam Build Date Date Stamp
Relocation Information Great Northern Railway AFE list
Railroad Line History Source ICC Valuation Information, Compiled by Richard S. Steele

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