On the south end, the line connected to the Milwaukee Road's Valley Subdivision. On the north end, a major turnaround was constructed to haul raw logs back to Merrill to be processed and shipped to paper plants along the Wisconsin River.
The line served a number of lumber companies until 1943, when all but the portions in Merrill were ripped out.
Today in Merrill, only a portion of the grade remains. The portion in Merrill was used into the 1990s to serve some local industry.
The rail beds from Downtown Merrill to the west side of Merrill, including the Wisconsin River Bridge are planned to become part of the Riverbend Trail in the future.
This bridge is the largest bridge in Merrill, and one of several interesting structures in Lincoln County.
Originally built at an unknown location in 1895, the bridge was relocated here around 1930 to replace an older all timber bridge.
The island that this bridge connects was once home to a major log processing industry, which is now gone. Today, the island is heavily overgrown, and the railroad ties rotted out.
With a main span consisting of a standardized 5-panel, pin connected Pratt Through Truss, the bridge likely was originally built for mainline service.
However, during a period of rebuilding, it is likely that the bridge became unnecessary for the location. A trio of identical spans exist, and according to an annual report, major rebuilding occurred in Iowa in 1895.
While Spring Green currently has a pair of identical trusses and a swing span, in 1918 it had four more trusses on the east end, likely of similar design. However, conflicting information was reported for this bridge in 1900.
In addition to the main span, the bridge has approach trestles on either side and is supported by wood piers, which the Milwaukee Road used on branch lines as an economical alternative to concrete or stone.
The trestle approach has signs of age, as it was likely last rebuilt in the 1970s.
Overall, the bridge remains in good condition. It is hoped it will be reused for trail use.
The author has ranked the bridge as being moderately significant, due to the truss design.
The best views are from the bridge, which is above. It is looking west across the bridge.
|Upstream||Lake Mohawkskin Rail Bridge|
|Downstream (West Channel)||CN Barker Island Bridge (N)|
|Downstream (East Channel)||Barker Island Trail Bridge|