Saukville Rail Bridge

Pratt Pony Truss Bridge over Milwaukee River
North of Saukville, Ozaukee County, Wisconsin

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Name Saukville Rail Bridge
Built By Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway
Contractor Unknown
Currently Owned By State of Wisconsin
Length 233 Feet Total, 116 Foot Spans
Width 1 Track
Height Above Ground 15 Feet (Estimated)
Superstructure Type Pratt Pony Truss
Substructure Type Pratt Pony Truss
Date Built 1902
Traffic Count 2 Trains/Day (Estimated)
Current Status In Use
WSOR Bridge Number 116.45
Significance Moderate Significance
In 1870, the Milwaukee & Northern Railway Company began construction of a line that would stretch approximately 113 miles from Milwaukee to Green Bay.

The line reached Cedarburg by the end of 1870, and Hilbert Junction by the end of 1871. By the early parts of 1873, the line reached Green Bay and the Fox River ports.

When the line was first completed to Hilbert Junction, a branch was built to Menasha, although that would later be turned over to the Soo Line.

The railroad became incorporated into the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway (Milwaukee Road) in 1893. The CM&StP became the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific Railway in 1913, after a pacific expansion.

The railroad served as one of the multitude of rail lines connecting Milwaukee to Green Bay. This one, however bypassed the Fox Cities.

The Milwaukee Road used the line until 1985, when they were merged into the Soo Line. The Soo became the new operators of the line.

In 1987, Soo Line spun much of its Wisconsin trackage to the Wisconsin Central Ltd, who operated this line until 2001.

By 2001, the Canadian National had taken over the Wisconsin Central, and abandoned a portion from Hilbert to Green Bay.
In 2015, the portion from Saukville to Hilbert would be sold to the Wisconsin & Southern Railroad.

Today, Canadian National operates the line into Milwaukee to Saukville; Wisconsin & Southern operates from Saukville to Hilbert, while the line towards Green Bay from Hilbert is currently the Fox River Trail, ending where the Swing Bridge over the Fox River once stood.

This large pony truss bridge crosses the Milwaukee River north of Saukville, in rural Ozaukee County.
The bridge features a pair of large Pratt Pony Truss spans, each with 6 panels and pinned connections. These spans rest on concrete substructures.
These particular pony truss spans are absolutely massive, much bigger than other similar trusses.
The bridge likely replaced another large truss structure. These massive pony truss spans were possibly built by the Wisconsin Bridge & Iron Company of Milwaukee, who commonly contracted with the Milwaukee Road.
A date stamp on the pier gives a date of 1902, which makes this truss an early innovator in terms of large trusses.

The bridge is in good condition, although it does have some scuffs from many years of use, including floor beams knocked out of alignment. The piers have some spalling as well.
Despite this, the author has ranked the bridge as being moderately significant, due to the large trusses that were clearly built at an early date.

The photo above is looking from the south bank.

Milwaukee River Railroad Bridges
Upstream West Bend Trail Bridge
Downstream UP Milwaukee River Bridge


Source Type


Build Date Date stamp
Railroad Line History Source ICC Valuation Information, Compiled by Richard S. Steele

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