UP Fish Creek Bridge #1

Deck Girder Bridge over Fish Creek
Blair, Washington County, Nebraska

Click the Photo Above to See All Photos of This Bridge!
Name UP Fish Creek Bridge #1
Built By Chicago & North Western Railway
Contractor Unknown
Currently Owned By Union Pacific Railroad
Length 250 Feet Total, 95 Foot Main Span
Width 1 Track
Height Above Ground 20 Feet (Estimated)
Superstructure Type Deck Plate Girder
Substructure Type Stone Masonry
Date Built 1904
Traffic Count 30 Trains/Day (Estimated)
Current Status In Use
UP Bridge Number 340.18
Significance Local Significance
In 1867, the Cedar Rapids and Missouri River Railroad built a line from Missouri Valley, Iowa to California Junction, Iowa.
The line was a short spur from the main line.

By 1869, the Sioux City and Pacific Railroad took control of the short spur, and continued building west.

To get from Iowa to Nebraska meant to cross the Missouri River. This was accomplished by barge, and in the winter, ice crossing.

The railroad was opened to Fremont, Nebraska by 1869. At Fremont, it would connect to the Union Pacific Transcontinental Mainline.

The line was a short bypass of Omaha, connecting to the Chicago & North Western Railway at Missouri Valley.
By 1883, a bridge would be built across the river at Blair.

In 1901, the C&NW purchased the Sioux City and Pacific Railroad. The line continued to serve as a smalltime bypass.

By the 1960s, with many consolidations well underway, the line became more important. It allowed coal and intermodal trains to bypass the congested Omaha area.

By 1995, C&NW was purchased by Union Pacific. Union Pacific continues to operate this line as the Blair Subdivision.
It is considered one of the most high priority Union Pacific lines, and is in the process of being upgraded to allow seamless operations.

This large deck girder bridge crosses Fish Creek and Marina Drive in Blair.
Built in 1904, the bridge is a very simply composed deck girder structure. It contains three large spans, set onto stone substructures.
Fortunately, it also appears to be in great condition. It is likely the third bridge at this location. A truss or lighter girder was likely the predecessor to this span.
The bridge may be replaced in the near future however, because Union Pacific has suggested the idea of widening the Missouri River Bridge and other tracks to include double track operation.

The author ranks this bridge as being locally significant, due to the common design.
The photo above is an overview. The bridge can be accessed from Marina Drive.


Source Type


Build Date Chicago & North Western Railway Historical Society Archives
Railroad Line History Source ICC Valuation Information, Compiled by Richard S. Steele

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