Elk Point Rail Bridge

Pratt Through Truss Bridge over Big Sioux River
Westfield, Plymouth County, Iowa
Elk Point, Union County, South Dakota

Click the Photo Above to See All Photos of This Bridge!
Name Elk Point Rail Bridge
Built By Chicago, Milwaukee St. Paul & Pacific Railway
Contractor (Main Span) Lassig Bridge & Iron Works of Chicago
Currently Owned By D&I Railroad
Length 394 Feet Total, 152 Foot Main Spans
Width 1 Track
Height Above Ground 15 Feet (Estimated)
Superstructure Type Pratt Through Truss and I-Beam
Substructure Type Concrete and Timber Pile
Trusses Originally Built 1900
Original Location Cedar River Bridge: Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Date Built 1905, Approaches Rebuilt Ca. 2010
Traffic Count 2 Trains/Day (Estimated)
Current Status In Use
Significance Moderate Significance
Documentation Date May 2017
In 1878, the Sioux City & Pembina Railway built a line from Elk Point, South Dakota to Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

The line crossed across the Big Sioux a number of times, crossing between Iowa and South Dakota.

The line was merged into the Sioux City and Dakota Railroad in 1879.

By 1881, the line became a branch of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway, also known as the Milwaukee Road.

In 1913, following an escapade to the Pacific Ocean, the railroad became known as the Chicago, Milwaukee St. Paul & Pacific Railway.

Heading north out of Sioux Falls, the Milwaukee Road also operated a branch to North Dakota.

By 1981, with the Milwaukee Road falling to bankruptcy, the Dakota & Iowa (D&I) Railroad was formed as a joint coalition between Iowa and South Dakota to operate the former branch to Sioux City.

Today, D&I continues to operate the line from Sioux Falls to Sioux City, as well as the Dell Rapids branch.

One of the more unique trusses in this area is this bridge, crossing between Elk Point and Westfield.
Originally built in 1900 as a crossing of the Cedar River in Cedar Rapids, the bridge was replaced by a deck truss upstream in 1905.
Curious about this bridge is why it was replaced so quickly. The author speculates that frequent floods became an issue and a better route was built. Another identical single truss span exists south of here, giving three spans known to be relocated from Cedar Rapids.
Currently, the bridge consists of a single 6-panel, pin connected Pratt Through Truss. This span is approached by modern I-Beam spans on the south side.
The truss span sits on concrete substructures, while the approach sits on wooden pile piers.
Overall, the bridge remains in relatively good condition. The approach was recently replaced.

The author has ranked this bridge as being moderately significant, due to the relocation history of the bridge.
The photo above is an overview.
A special thank you to the Milwaukee Road Archives at the Milwaukee Central Library is warranted for finding the history of this bridge!

Big Sioux River Railroad Bridges
Upstream Hawarden Rail Bridge (S)
Downstream North Sioux City Rail Bridge


Source Type


Main Span Build Date Lassig Bridge & Iron Works plaque
Relocation Date D&I Railroad bridge records
Original Location Milwaukee Road Archives at Milwaukee Central Library
Contractor Lassig Bridge & Iron Works plaque
Railroad Line History Source ICC Valuation Information, Compiled by Richard S. Steele

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