UP S. Skunk River Bridge (Ames)

Deck Plate Girder Bridge over South Skunk River
Ames, Story County, Iowa

Click the Photo Above to See All Photos of This Bridge!
Name UP S. Skunk River Bridge (Ames)
Built By Chicago & North Western Railway
Contractor Lassig Bridge & Iron Works of Chicago
Contractor (1949 Rebuild) American Bridge Company of New York
Currently Owned By Union Pacific Railroad
Length 224 Feet Total, 110 Foot Largest Span
Width 2 Tracks
Height Above Ground 20 Feet (Estimated)
Superstructure Type Deck Plate Girder and I-Beam
Substructure Type Stone Masonry and Concrete Pile
Date Built 1900, Rebuilt 1949
Traffic Count 75 Trains/Day (Estimated)
Current Status In Use
UP Bridge Number 187.72
Significance Local Significance
Documentation Date November 2016
A brief history of the Chicago & North Western Iowa Division mainline, now part of the Overland Route:


The most unique railroad bridge in Ames is this structure, which carries the Union Pacific mainline across the South Skunk River.
The bridge was originally built in 1900 as a replacement for a single track bridge. It is likely that the girders were fabricated in approximately 1898. Two spans were replaced in 1949 with a larger span, possibly due to scouring of the center pier or the need for channel improvements.
In response, American Bridge Company was contracted to rebuild the structure. A large deck girder span was installed, along with I-Beams on either side. On the west end, a single deck girder remained of the original bridge.
The bridge currently sits on both concrete and stone substructures. The concrete substructures are of a design commonly seen on 50s bridges.

The author has ranked the bridge as being locally significant, due to the common design but unique history.
The photo above is an overview. The structure can be accessed from the pedestrian trail underneath.

S. Skunk River Railroad Bridges
Upstream Ellsworth Railroad Bridge
Downstream UP S. Skunk River Bridge (Cambridge)


Source Type


Build Date Chicago & North Western Railway Historical Society Archives
Rebuild Date Railway Age Volume 126
Contractor Missing American Bridge Company plaque
Railroad Line History Source ICC Valuation Information, Compiled by Richard S. Steele

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