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Scotts Bluff, Nebraska

Interstate Canal Bridge

Interstate Canal Bridge
Interstate Canal Bridge
National Park Service

The Interstate Canal Bridge once carried a gravel-surfaced county road across the Interstate Canal north of Scottsbluff.  Although the history of the bridge’s construction is not well documented, it probably was the result of a resolution by the Scotts Bluff County Commissioners. Dated April 20, 1915, the resolution required canal owners to construct bridges where county roads intersected their ditches and canals. Subject to the approval of the road overseer or the county commissioners, these bridges were intended to be built within 30 days of the resolution.

The Interstate Canal Bridge is a steel, Pratt pony truss bridge with upright posts, a timber deck, and concrete footings. The builder of this bridge used a non-standard design with a configuration and details that are similar to those of three other canal bridges in Scotts Bluff County.  The truss bears the characteristics of one of these c. 1915 structures making the bridge significant as an illustration of this trend in transportation and also as an example of a simple-support pony truss.

Although the State legislature in 1913 required Nebraska’s counties to use standard 20-ton capacity designs, canal companies had no such requirement. As a result, most canal companies built timber pile bridges, much weaker than steel construction. Typically poorly constructed, these small-scale bridges either collapsed or counties later replaced them with more substantial designs. The Interstate Canal Bridge and the three other bridges in Scotts Bluff County are the only known examples of steel truss bridges that canal companies erected in the State of Nebraska.

Plan your visit

The Interstate Canal Bridge is located off Sugar Factory Rd. over the Interstate Canal, 9.3 miles north of Scottsbluff, NE.

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