|Bridge Name||Facility Carried / Feature Intersected||Location||Structure Type||Construction Date and Builder/Engineer|
Blue Heron Railroad Bridge
||Railroad (Rail-Trail) Over Big South Fork||Blue Heron (Rural): McCreary County, Kentucky||Metal Cantilever Rivet-Connected Baltimore Deck Truss, Fixed and Approach Spans: Metal Deck Girder, Fixed||By Builder/Contractor: Unknown|
Cantilever deck truss bridges like this one are often mistaken for arch bridges. However, due to an unusual feature with this bridge, few will make that mistake here. The bottom chord of this bridge turns into an end-post of sorts and meets the deck at mid-span. This gives the bridge a rather unusual appearance. If it were an arch bridge it would not stand like this, and would collapse, since with arch bridges, the arch needs to run continuous and support needed most in the center. With a cantilever bridge however, the strength starts at the support and goes out, like the limbs on a tree. Therefore, each half of this bridge could stand independently of each other and still support weight. For this reason, there really was no need for support at the center of this bridge, so engineers brought the bottom chord back up to the deck.
This bridge is significant as an uncommon example of a cantilever deck truss that dates to the late 1930s, although the exact date is unknown. It was built to access a mine, and was used until the 1960s. It features riveted connections, and built-up members and chords that include attractive lattice and v-lacing. it is located in the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area. The bridge is hard to photograph even in the winter, plus to make matters worse, signs mounted on the trails warn people of dangerous snakes.
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