Pequonnock River Railroad Bridge

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Pequonnock River Railroad Bridge
Pequonock River Bridge, Bridgeport (Fairfield County, Connecticut).jpg
Pequonnock River Railroad Bridge in 1977
Official name Pequonnock River Railroad Bridge
Carries Metro North New Haven Line
Amtrak
Crosses Pequonnock River
Locale Grand Street, Bridgeport (Connecticut)
Design Bascule bridge
Total length 372.1 feet (113.4 m)
Width 35.1 feet (10.7 m)
Opened 1998
Coordinates 41°10′59″N 73°11′11″W / 41.18306°N 73.18639°W / 41.18306; -73.18639

The Pequonnock River Railroad Bridge is a railroad drawbridge (movable bridge) over the Pequonnock River in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Owned by the State of Connecticut and maintained and operated by Metro-North Railroad, it is also referred to as Pequonnock River Bridge, PECK Bridge, and Undergrade Bridge 55.90 (the mileage from Grand Central Terminal). Currently the bridge is part of the Northeast Corridor line, carrying rail traffic of Amtrak and Metro-North, as well as freight trains operated by the Providence & Worcester Railroad.

History[edit]

The 1902-built bridge on a postcard mailed in 1909

The previous bridge was constructed in 1902 by the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad (replacing an earlier bridge) as one of two through girder Scherzer rolling bascule bridges on the New Haven Line. The bridge consisted of twin parallel rolling lift spans.[1]

It was one of eight legacy moveable bridges on the Amtrak route through Connecticut surveyed in one multiple property study in 1986.[2] The eight bridges from west to east were: Mianus River Railroad Bridge at Cos Cob, built in 1904 (the surviving twin of the Pequonnock Bridge); Norwalk River Railroad Bridge at Norwalk, 1896; Saugatuck River Railroad Bridge at Westport, 1905; the Pequonnock Bridge; Housatonic River Railroad Bridge, at Devon, 1905; Connecticut River Railroad Bridge, Old Saybrook-Old Lyme, 1907; Niantic River Bridge, East Lyme-Waterford, 1907; and Thames River Bridge, Groton, built in 1919. The old bridge was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1987, an honor not enjoyed for long, as it was obvious even before the survey that total replacement, rather than repair, was needed for the span.

By the 1980s, the 1902 bridge had seriously deteriorated due to corrosion and metal fatigue. Compounding this was downstream movement of the main (pit) pier which supported the machinery and the waterproof chamber housing the descending component of the rolling lift spans; all of these issues forced a 10 mph restriction on all trains and closed the bridge to marine traffic. A new structure was designed with the same alignment utilized, but with improved track spirals to allow higher train speeds, and a bascule component which allowed a higher clearance and a wider channel for shipping.[3] In 1992, $80 million in federal funds were put aside to help replace the Pequonnock River railroad bridge by Rep. Christopher Shays, R-4th District and Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro, D-3rd District.[4]

Construction work, which had begun as early as 1989, commenced at full speed by the mid-1990s with trains being diverted to a fixed shoofly bridge, and electrical utilities (United Illuminating as well as Metro-North) relocated to temporary structures. All work was completed in 1998. As on the old bridge, the movable span is twin parallel spans, capable of independent as well as tandem operation.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ann Baggerman (August 10, 1977). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory - Nomination: Pequonnock River Railroad Bridge / Pequonnock River Bridge" (pdf). National Park Service. Retrieved 2010-07-28.  and accompanying photograph.
  2. ^ Bruce Clouette, Matthew Roth and John Herzan (February 4, 1986). "Movable Railroad Bridges on the NE Corridor in Connecticut TR". National Park Service. 
  3. ^ Jacobs, David W. "Replacement of the Pequonnock River Railroad Bridge (PECK) and Bridgeport Viaduct in Bridgeport, Connecticut". 3rd Biennial Symposium of the Heavy Movable Structures Movable Bridges Affiliate of the American Consulting Engineers Council, St. Petersburg, Florida, USA, November 12-15, 1990. Heavy Movable Structures, Inc. Retrieved 30 November 2011. 
  4. ^ http://articles.courant.com/1992-10-06/news/0000111630_1_congressional-budget-office-election-year-members-projects