Two Rivers Swing Bridge

Abandoned Through Truss Swing Bridge over West Twin River
Two Rivers, Manitowoc County, Wisconsin

Click the Photo Above to See All Photos of This Bridge!
Name Two Rivers Swing Bridge
Built By Chicago & North Western Railway
Contractor Unknown
Currently Owned By Canadian National Railway
Length 230 Feet Total, 130 Foot Swing Span
Width 1 Track
Height Above Ground 10 Feet (Estimated)
Superstructure Type Warren Through Truss Swing Span and Trestle
Substructure Type Stone Masonry and Timber Pile
Date Built 1899
Traffic Count 0 Trains/Day (Bridge is Abandoned)
Current Status Abandoned
C&NW Bridge Number 2123
Significance Moderate Significance
In 1873, the Milwaukee, Lake Shore & Western Railway built a line from Manitowoc, Wisconsin to Two Rivers, Wisconsin; a distance of approximately 6 miles.
In 1875, the railroad would be reorganized as the Milwaukee, Lake Shore and Western Railway; which had constructed several lines throughout the region.
The railroad was leased by the Chicago & North Western prior to 1893, but was finally incorporated into the C&NW in 1893.
The railroad was a spur from the mainline. In 1906, the C&NW built north from Manitowoc to Green Bay, creating the spur.
On the south end, the line connected to the Green Bay-Milwaukee line. The branch would end in downtown Two Rivers.
The branch line would be considered unnecessary and later abandoned, likely by the Fox River Valley Railroad; who acquired the line from C&NW in 1988.

Today, the Two Rivers branch is largely forgotten. One small section of trackage remains, a connection between the former C&NW mainline and a Canadian National Mainline.
This branch is currently owned and operated by Canadian National Railway.

This unique bridge is another remnant of the Chicago & North Western in Two Rivers.
It was built in approximately 1899 to cross the West Twin River. However, the swing span utilizes a unique center pivot design.
The center pivot design was oftentimes retired after the early 1880s, due to the complex engineering that was required to construct the bridge. The bridge must perfectly balance on the center pier in order to be able to swing. Even a small difference in weight could be catastrophic.
The swing span utilizes a Warren Through Truss span with riveted connections. This type of bridge appears to be well engineered for 1899. The truss contains 9 panels.
The bridge is set onto stone and wood substructures. The bridge is approached on either side by trestle approaches; which appear to be in a deteriorated condition.

While the bridge is extremely historic and abandoned; it may see an uncertain future. Scrappers or the railroad companies could possibly decide to scrap the structure. The bridge is currently locked into an open position.
It is hoped that this will never happen. Instead, the author hopes that Manitowoc County will turn this line and bridge into a recreational trail.
The author has ranked this bridge as being moderately significant, due to the historic nature of the truss and the overall unique design.
The photo above is an overview.


Source Type


Build Date Estimated based on similar bridges
Railroad Line History Source ICC Valuation Information, Compiled by Richard S. Steele

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