Rock Rapids Trail Bridge

Through and Deck Girder Bridge over Rock River
Rock Rapids, Lyon County, Iowa

Click the Photo Above to See All Photos of This Bridge!
Name Rock Rapids Trail Bridge
Built By Burlington, Cedar Rapids & Northern Railway
Contractor American Bridge Company of New York
Currently Owned By City of Rock Rapids
Length 615 Feet Total, 75 Foot Largest Span
Width 1 Track
Height Above Ground 10 Feet (Estimated)
Type Through and Deck Girder
Date Built 1902
Traffic Count 0 Trains/Day (Bridge is a Trail)
Current Status Rails to Trails
RI Bridge Number 2834
Significance Locally Significant
In 1884, the Cedar Rapids, Iowa Falls and Northwestern Railway Company built a line from Lake Park, Iowa towards Watertown, South Dakota.

However in 1888, the CRIF&N built another branch from Ellsworth, Minnesota (near the State Line) to Sioux Falls.

The Sioux Falls branch crossed through Rock Rapids and Larchwood before coming into Sioux Falls from the Southeast.

The CRIF&N would become part of the Burlingon, Cedar Rapids & Northern in 1902.

The BCR&N would be swallowed by the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific in 1903, which was commonly known as the Rock Island.

The Rock Island operated many of the Southwest branch lines until the late 1970s, as they began their rapid decent into bankruptcy. This one was abandoned in 1977.

Today, some pieces of the BCR&N still survive. Bridges in Sioux Falls and Rock Rapids mark a time past.

In the city of Rock Rapids sits this beautiful trail bridge, providing spectacular views of the Rock River and the island.

The bridge is divided into two sets of main spans. Over the east channel, two Through Girder spans on concrete piers cross the river.
Over the west channel, a single through girder span crosses the river. Between these, a number of deck girder spans cross the island. This bridge has a substantial curve in it.

The bridge is mainly set onto stone substructures, with one concrete pier. It was built in 1902 to replace a similar structure, as the BCR&N did a number of upgrades to this line.

Today, the bridge serves as a popular park and trail, and is also on the National Register of Historic Places. It was converted to a trail in 2007.

The author has ranked the bridge as locally significant due to the community effort in preserving the structure, the great historical integrity and the somewhat uncommon string of designs for the structure.

The photo above is looking from the west channel, east along the bridge.

Rock River Railroad Bridges

Upstream Luverne Railroad Bridge
Downstream Rock Rapids Rail Bridge

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