North Sioux City Rail Bridge

Pratt Through Truss Bridge over Big Sioux River
Sioux City, Woodbury County, Iowa
North Sioux City, Union County, South Dakota

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Name North Sioux City Rail Bridge
Built By Chicago, Milwaukee St. Paul & Pacific Railway
Contractor (Main Spans) Lassig Bridge & Iron Works of Chicago
Contractor (Approach Spans) American Bridge Company of New York
Currently Owned By BNSF Railway
Length 425 Feet Total, 150 Foot Main Spans
Width 1 Track
Height Above Ground 20 Feet (Estimated)
Superstructure Type Pratt Through Truss and Deck Girder
Substructure Type Concrete
Trusses Originally Built 1900
Original Location Cedar River Bridge: Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Date Built 1905, Approaches Added 1930
Traffic Count 3 Trains/Day (Estimated)
Current Status In Use
MILW Bridge Number T-250
Significance Regional Significance
Documentation Date May 2017
In 1872, the Dakota Southern Railway constructed a 61 mile route between Sioux City, Iowa and Yankton, South Dakota.
In 1879, the railroad was merged with the Sioux City & Pembina Railway to form the Sioux City and Dakota Railroad, which was in turn controlled by the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railway in 1881.

Known as the Milwaukee Road, construction continued with a line being built from Aberdeen, South Dakota to Ashton, South Dakota the same year.
By 1882, another segment from Mitchell to Letcher was built, as well as a segment from Yankton to Scotland.
The missing segments would be filled in during 1886, including from Ashton to Letcher and Mitchell to Scotland.
The route connected to other Milwaukee Road main lines at Aberdeen and Sioux City, as well as at Elk Point and Mitchell.

While this route crossed some of the best farm land in South Dakota, the Milwaukee Road oftentimes was in financial trouble. This was partially due to an expansion to the Pacific Ocean, completed in approximately 1908.

In 1913, the railroad was renamed the Chicago, Milwaukee St. Paul & Pacific Railway. This route saw little change until 1980, when a portion from Mitchell to Aberdeen was proposed for abandonment.

The State of South Dakota purchased the route, and granted Burlington Northern operation of the segment. In addition, BN bought the Mitchell-Sioux City segment.
BN would merge with the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway to form BNSF Railway in 1996. Since 2005, BNSF has owned and operated the entire Aberdeen-Sioux City segment as the Aberdeen Subdivision.

One of the more unique trusses in this area is this bridge, crossing between Sioux City and North Sioux City.
Originally built in 1900 as a crossing of the Cedar River in Cedar Rapids, the bridge was replaced by a deck truss upstream in 1905.
The curious thing about this bridge is why it was replaced so quickly. The author speculates that frequent floods became an issue and a better route was built. Another identical single truss span exists north of here, giving three bridges known to be relocated from Cedar Rapids.
Currently, the bridge consists of a pair of 6-panel, pin connected Pratt Through Trusses. These spans are approached by deck girder spans on either side.
The entire bridge sits on concrete substructures.
Overall, the bridge remains in relatively good condition. The substructures have recently been stabilized it appears.

The author has ranked this bridge as being regionally significant, due to the relocation history of the bridge.
The photo above is an overview. This bridge is easy to access from nearby roads.
A special thank you to the Milwaukee Road Archives at the Milwaukee Central Library is warranted for finding the history of this bridge!

Big Sioux River Railroad Bridges
Upstream Elk Point Rail Bridge
Downstream Mouth at Missouri River


Source Type


Main Span Build Date Lassig Bridge & Iron Works plaque
Relocation Date Milwaukee Road Archives at Milwaukee Central Library
Original Location Milwaukee Road Archives at Milwaukee Central Library
Contractor Lassig Bridge & Iron Works plaque
Railroad Line History Source ICC Valuation Information, Compiled by Richard S. Steele

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