ASB Bridge

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ASB Bridge
Asb-bridge.jpg
ASB Bridge from Westport Landing, span in lowered position, in 2006
Official name Armour-Swift-Burlington Bridge
Other name(s) Winner bridge, Fratt Bridge
Carries Railroads, and formerly Automobiles
Crosses Missouri River
Locale Kansas City, Missouri to North Kansas City, Missouri
Maintained by BNSF Railway
Design double-deck truss bridge with vertical lift
Total length 1,282 ft (391 m)
Longest span 428 ft (130 m)
Opened 1911
Toll 27 cents (until 1927)
Closed 1987 (road deck)
Coordinates 39°06′59″N 94°34′47″W / 39.116527°N 94.57974°W / 39.116527; -94.57974Coordinates: 39°06′59″N 94°34′47″W / 39.116527°N 94.57974°W / 39.116527; -94.57974

The Armour-Swift-Burlington (ASB) Bridge, also known as the North Kansas City Bridge, is a rail crossing over the Missouri River in Kansas City, Missouri that formerly also handled car traffic.

The piers were built in 1890. However, later that year, lack of funding prevented the bridge from being built. In 1909, Waddell & Harrington designed the current bridge and construction started. The bridge is one of two of this type that had car traffic on Route 9 on the upper level, and rail traffic on the lower level. The lower deck could be raised to permit riverboats to pass without interrupting car traffic on top. This design allowed the hangers from the lower deck to go through the truss members of the upper deck.

ASB Bridge with road deck c.1981.

It was built by a combination of Armour Packing Company, Swift & Company, and Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad.

In 1987, the Heart of America Bridge bridge opened to the east to replace the vehicular portion.

In 1996, the remaining part of the ASB was designated by the American Society of Civil Engineers as a national landmark in civil engineering. The bridge is now owned by the BNSF Railway. The ASB has a 428-foot main span, and makes it the ninth-longest vertical-lift drawbridge in the United States. It is also a tourist attraction, as many people visit it each year. This is also one of two of this type ever built.[1]

History[edit]

1890: Nine stone masonry piers built; engineer John Alexander Low Waddell did not agree with piers, funding ceased and the piers would sit unused until 1909.

1909: The companies of Armour Packing House, Swift and Company, and Chicago Burlington & Quincy Railroad put in funds to build bridge. Piers shaved to ten feet above high-water mark, J.A.L. Waddell's firm of Waddell & Harrington created a new design, work begins.

December 28, 1911: Bridge opened to traffic, two lanes of automobile on upper level, one track of railroad on lower.

January 1913: Electric interurban cars begin use of streetcar rails on upper deck.

May 2, 1927: South approach span damaged in fire, replaced later that month.

August 1927: Bridge taken over by Missouri State Highway Department and tolls removed. Bridge floor replaced.

1932: Steel girder span over Second Street replaced.

1948: Bridge deck replaced, repairs and new lights added. Streetcar rails removed, and opened to four lanes of traffic.

Although the ASB Bridge was a very rare example of a double-deck bridge in which only the lower deck could be raised, it was not the unique example worldwide. Two bridges in Ukraine used the same design many years later, including the 1949-built Kryukov Bridge (uk) (pictured), in Kremenchuk.

1949: Collars placed around river piers to prevent rust.

1950: Bridge cleaned and repainted.

1951: Bridge survives 1951 flood.

1952: North approach widened.

1966: North approach widened and resurfaced.

1967: Bridge deck repaired.

1981–1982: Repair of girder lines on downstream side of railroad deck.

1987: Heart of America Bridge opened to the east, upper auto deck closed to all traffic.

1988–1989: Upper deck surface removed, and bridge given to Burlington Northern railroad.

1996: Bridge added as a national landmark in civil engineering by the American Society of Civil Engineers, for being only two of that type ever built in the United States

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Kansas City Engineering History". asce.org. Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2008-01-29. 

External links[edit]