UP Washington Road Bridge

Deck Girder Bridge over Washington Road
Kenosha, Kenosha County, Wisconsin

Click the Photo Above to See All Photos of This Bridge!
Name UP Washington Road Bridge
Built By Chicago & North Western Railway
Contractor American Bridge Company of New York
Currently Owned By Union Pacific Railroad
Length 68 Feet Total, 34 Foot Main Spans
Width 6 Tracks, 3 In Use
Height Above Ground 12 Feet 7 Inches
Superstructure Type Deck Plate Girder
Substructure Type Concrete and Steel Pile
Date Built 1930
Traffic Count 5 Trains/Day (Estimated)
Current Status In Use
UP Bridge Number 52.40
Significance Minimal Significance
Within the state of Wisconsin, the Green Bay, Milwaukee & Chicago Railroad had early hopes of connecting the three namesake cities.

The railroad had built a line from Kenosha into downtown Milwaukee and to Wiscona in 1855, which connected to a line into Chicago.

The line was merged into the Milwaukee & Chicago Railroad in 1857, which changed itsname to the Chicago & Milwaukee Railway by 1863. In 1881, they became the Milwaukee, Chicago & Northwestern. After years of instability, the railroad finally became part of the Chicago & Northwestern's growing empire in 1883.

At one time, the core of the line in downtown Milwaukee and just south of the location could see well over 100 trains a day.

On the north, the line connected to another C&NW family railroad, which had been built in 1872 and 1873. The major junction would later become vital to the C&NW system.
The junction became known as Wiscona, and allowed this line to connect with a major Milwaukee Road line, the C&NW mainline west to Saint Paul, East/north to Green Bay and this line continued towards Oshkosh.

The route served as the more industrial line between Milwaukee and Chicago, which went through Racine and Kenosha. A bypass line was built several miles to the west of these towns in 1906.

When the Milwaukee, Sparta & Northwestern built the Airline in 1911 around the north side of Milwaukee, the C&NW spend a lot of money upgrading this line along with many others.

Beginning in Kenosha, the line is used by the METRA, a Chicago commuter rail.

The line is still used by numerous local trains per day, but is abandoned north of National Avenue in Milwaukee.

Today, as the result of a 1995 purchase of the C&NW, Union Pacific owns everything that was the original Kenosha Subdivision. In downtown Milwaukee, and around the immediate northern suburbs, the line is the Oak Leaf Trail.

The remaining portions of the line from Wiscona to Capitol Drive are the Capitol Drive Industrial Lead, which was abandoned in 2009, and purchased by the state to create an eventual trail in 2014.

The line is one of the oldest in the Milwaukee area, and was one of the most significant to its economy.

This simple deck girder bridge crosses Washington Road in Kenosha, as part of a grade separation project.
The bridge is simply built and contains a pair of deck girder spans, supported by concrete abutments and a steel pier.
This bridge, as well as several others in Kenosha are painted a bright blue, an upgrade from the normal rusty conditions these bridges are often in.
The deck girders on this bridge are not a traditional design; but instead feature four girders placed together for each track. The outside girder serves as a non-functional facade.

The author has ranked this bridge as being minimally significant, due to the common design and newer age of this bridge.
The photo above is an overview.


Source Type


Build Date American Bridge Company Plaque
Contractor American Bridge Company Plaque
Railroad Line History Source ICC Valuation Information, Compiled by Richard S. Steele

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