UP Eau Claire River Bridge

Deck Truss Bridge over Eau Claire River Bridge
Altoona, Eau Claire County, Wisconsin

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Name UP Eau Claire River Bridge
Built By Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha Railway
Contractor Lassig Bridge & Iron Works of Chicago
Currently Owned By Union Pacific Railroad
Length 474 Feet Total, 157 Foot Main Spans
Width 1 Track (Formerly Gauntlet)
Height Above Ground 30 Feet (Estimated)
Superstructure Type Double Intersection Warren Deck Truss and Deck Plate Girder
Substructure Type Stone Masonry and Concrete
Date Built 1898
Traffic Count 15 Trains/Day (Estimated)
Current Status In Use
UP Bridge Number 89.00
Significance Moderate Significance
Between 1868 and 1872, the West Wisconsin Railway would construct 188 miles of track in western and central Wisconsin.
Starting in Elroy, the route would be constructed westwards, reaching Eau Claire by 1870. A short 10 mile branch was built between Warrens and Tomah in 1868.
By 1871, the route would reach Hudson. The same year, the St. Paul, Stillwater & Taylor Falls Railway would build a route between Hudson and St. Paul, Minnesota.
By 1878, the WW became part of the Chicago, St. Paul & Minneapolis Railway, which in turn became part of the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha Railway in 1880.
The Omaha road became controlled by the Chicago & North Western Railway upon formation.
A second main track was constructed along this route between Wyeville and St. Paul between 1911 and 1913, as part of an upgrade to the C&NW system.

The Omaha Road was leased by the C&NW in 1957, and was outright merged in 1972. The C&NW continued to operate this as a main track until 1995, when it was purchased by Union Pacific.
Today, Union Pacific operates this line as part of a main line to the Twin Cities.

This bridge was built 1898 replacing an old iron bridge. It had a similar design. The bridge before that was a wooden bridge.
The bridge contains two double intersection warren deck truss spans at 157'2" each. In addition, it has two deck plate girders at 80' each, one on each end.
The bridge was built gauntlet in 1901, meaning two tracks ran over the bridge in the space of one track. This gauntlet was removed in 1991.
In the 90 years that the bridge gauntlet, plans had been brought up in 1916 to build a second parallel bridge, but it was later deemed far too expensive.
The bridge has continued to serve faithfully since its build in 1898.

The author has ranked the bridge as moderately significant, due to the design and gauntlet designation, as well as the age.
The photo above is looking from the east bank.

Eau Claire River Railroad Bridges
Upstream Headwaters
Downstream Soo Line "S" Bridge


Source Type


Build Date Chicago & North Western Railway Historical Society
Contractor Lassig Bridge & Iron Works plaque
Railroad Line History Source ICC Valuation Information, Compiled by Richard S. Steele

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