Old G Avenue Trail Bridge

Deck Plate Girder Bridge over Former G Avenue and Unnamed Creek
Redfield, Boone County, Iowa

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Name Old G Avenue Trail Bridge
Built By Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway
Contractor Unknown
Currently Owned By Dallas County
Length 70 Feet Total, 35 Foot Spans
Width 1 Track
Height Above Ground 10 Feet (Estimated)
Superstructure Type Deck Plate Girder
Substructure Type Concrete
Date Built 1902
Traffic Count 0 Trains/Day (Bridge is a Trail)
Current Status Rails to Trails
MILW Bridge Number Y-72
Significance Local Significance
Documentation Date October 2018
In April of 1875, the Des Moines, Adel and Western Railway was formed to build a line connecting Des Moines to nearby Adel.
By 1878, the route opened from the town of Waukee to Adel, a distance of approximately 10 miles. By December of 1879, a bridge was completed across the Raccoon River and work continued towards Panora.

In 1881, the route would reach Fonda.
Also in 1881, the DMA&W became part of the Des Moines Northwestern Railroad, which built from Waukee to Clive; and eventually into Des Moines.
At the end of 1888, the route reached Spirit Lake, in Dickinson County. By 1891, the entire route would contain standard gauge track.
Towards the end of the 19th Century, the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway was attempting to acquire the route. The deal would be finalized in 1894.

Despite acquiring the line, the Milwaukee Road never had any critical connections for the route north of Yale. As a result, the route was classified as a branch line.
By the 1970s, major abandonments began throughout Iowa as railroads consolidated routes. On this line, the first section to be removed was from Milford to Spirit Lake in 1974.
The route was later abandoned from Spender to Milford in 1978. A mass closure of the route occurred in 1980, and included portions from Clive to Yale, Spencer to Marathon and Jefferson to Albert City.
The remaining segments, from Jefferson to Yale and from Marathon to Albert City were purchased by the Chicago & North Western Railway in 1985.

By 1990, the segment from Jefferson to Herndon was abandoned, and by 1999 the segment from Herndon to Yale would also be abandoned.
The C&NW became a part of Union Pacific Railroad in 1995. Today, they operate one sole portion of this line, from Albert City to Marathon as the Laurens Subdivision.
South of Jefferson, the route is a trail extending to Clive.

This unique deck girder bridge formerly crossed G Avenue just east of Redfield.
While the bridge was reportedly built in 1902, it appears that the bridge may have used secondhand spans or may have been rebuilt at some point. The bridge features a pair of deck girder spans, set onto concrete substructures.
Another feature of the bridge is the use of twinned deck girders. The process of twinning takes two spans of girders and makes one span. This is often done with scrap material to strengthen the bridge.
The bridge once crossed G Avenue, although G Avenue was removed in the 1990s. It continues to cross an unnamed creek.
Overall, the bridge appears to be in good condition. Currently, the bridge serves the Raccoon River Valley Trail.

The author has ranked this bridge as being locally significant, due to the lack of information on the structure.
The photo above is an overview.


Source Type


Build Date Milwaukee Road Archives at the Milwaukee Central Library
Railroad Line History Source ICC Valuation Information, Compiled by Richard S. Steele

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