HistoricBridges.org Menu:
HistoricBridges.org Menu:

Divider

HistoricBridges.org: Bridge Browser

Home

Divider

Big Bridge

   
                  


Advertisements:

Divider
Bach Steel - Experts at historic truss bridge restoration.
Big Bridge
Promotions:


Chicago's Bridges Book (By HistoricBridges.org author Nathan Holth): Available Here!

Divider

View Historic Bridges Available For Reuse (These make great cost-effective trail bridges.)

Divider

Show your support for preservation of Virginia's Waterloo Bridge by signing an online petition!

Bridge Documented: May 13, 2004
View Photos
and Videos
View Maps
and Links

Key Facts
Bridge Name Facility Carried / Feature Intersected Location Structure Type Construction Date and Builder/Engineer
Big Bridge
Main Street (NY-31), Saxton Street, Cottage Street, and Two Parking Lots Over Erie Canal Lockport: Niagara County, New York Metal Three-Hinged Solid Ribbed Deck Arch, Fixed 1914 By Builder/Contractor: Larkin and Sangster of Seneca Falls, New York
Technical Facts
Rehabilitation Date Main Span Length Structure Length Roadway Width Main Spans NBI Number
1992 129 Feet (39.3 Meters) 129 Feet (39.3 Meters) 400 Feet (122 Meters) 1 4454170

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

View Archived National Bridge Inventory Report - Has Additional Details and Evaluation

View Historical Article About This Bridge

The bridge looks like a deck plate girder, however engineering literature for the period comments that the bridge functions as a three hinge arch bridge, or "arch girder" design. This might come as a surprise since the bridge does not have a curved arch shape normally associated with the structure type. Closer visual inspection of the bridge reveals the hinges of the bridge. The unusual bridge design was chosen to maximize the vertical clearance under the deck. A large limestone rock foundation in the area, part of the Niagara Escarpment, enabled the design to work effectively and also provide clearance for boats with minimal blasting of rock. Other structure types which would place the superstructure above the deck would not have been feasible due to the width of the bridge and the angles at which roads intersect on the deck. The length of the bridge varies throughout the width of the bridge, with lengths from just under 117 feet to just over 124 feet.

The bridge's deck appears to have been redone recently. The bridge originally had lattice railings which have been replaced with modern guardrail, diminishing the visual qualities and historic integrity of the bridge. However, the bridge retains integrity of its superstructure, which is highly significant for its very unusual design.

This bridge is noteworthy as a former record-holder for width. When built it was reported to be the widest bridge in the world. The bridge is so wide that it has a parking lot on its deck in addition to multiple roadways.

Interpretive signs are located near this bridge. You can view them in the photo gallery for this bridge as well. 

Divider

Historic Bridges of the Erie Canal

The Erie Canal is one of the most famous and historically significant canals in the United States. Aside from the widely recognized historical significance of the canal as a transportation facility itself, a lesser known fact is that the canal is historically significant for the bridges that have spanned the canal over the years. It was here on the Erie Canal where Squire Whipple found a place to successfully get his "Whipple Arch" bowstring truss bridges constructed in significant quantities in the mid-1800s. The success of his Whipple Arch bridges helped contribute to the nationwide transition from wooden bridges to metal bridges. The period of time from 1905-1918 where the Erie Canal was upgraded and widened to become part of the larger New York State Barge Canal was a time of change for the bridges of the canal. Between the process of widening and upgrading the canal, and the nationwide trend to build more substantial bridges in the early 20th Century, the previous generation of bridges (many undoubtedly those Whipple Arch bridges) were replaced by a series of new bridges. These bridges have proved to be very durable and thanks to a clear commitment to preservation on the part of New York State Department of Transportation and other agencies, the Erie Canal, particularly the western section from Lockport to Spencerport boasts one of the highest densities of historic bridges of any waterway in the country. The vast majority of bridges on this section are maintained in beautiful condition.

Although the new bridges from the early 20th Century took a variety of forms, two forms were by far the most common. In rural or spacious areas, a fixed double-intersection Warren through truss was used, with a dirt approach providing the modest elevation needed for a fixed bridge over the canal. Double-intersection Warren truss bridges are generally considered an uncommon truss type on a nationwide basis. In urban and less spacious areas, a vertical lift bridge was used. The vertical lift bridges are an unusual design. Instead of towers that rise above the bridge in a traditional vertical lift bridge and pull the truss span up using cables, these bridges have vertical endposts which extend below the deck and into the ground. When operated, these extended endposts (called the lifting frame) rise out of the ground. In an engineering sense, these unusual vertical lift bridges might be thought of as bedstead truss bridges. Another unique feature of these lift bridges are the stairways found at each end of the bridge on the sidewalks. These stairways allow pedestrians to continue to cross the bridge when the structure is in the raised position. These vertical lift bridges continue to operate for boats today, so observing these unique bridges remains possible.

View Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) Overview of Erie Canal Locks at Lockport, NY

Erie Canal Museum

New York State Page On Erie Canal

Erie Canal History

Divider

Divider

Photos and Videos: Big Bridge

Available Photo Galleries and Videos

Click on a thumbnail or gallery name below to visit that particular photo gallery. If videos are available, click on a video name to view and/or download that particular video.

 
View Photo Gallery Bridge Photo-Documentation
Original / Full Size Photos
A collection of overview and detail photos. For the best visual immersion and full detail, or for use as a desktop background, this gallery presents the photos for this bridge in the original digital camera resolution.
View Photo Gallery Bridge Photo-Documentation
Mobile Optimized Gallery
A collection of overview and detail photos. View the photos for this bridge in a reduced size which is useful for mobile/smartphone users, modem (dial-up) users, or those who do not wish to wait for the longer download times of the full-size photos. Alternatively, view this photo gallery using a popup slideshow viewer (great for mobile users) by clicking the link below.
Browse Gallery With Popup Viewer

View Maps
and Links

Divider
 
Home Top

Divider

About Contact Footer

© Copyright 2003-2014, HistoricBridges.org. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer: HistoricBridges.org is a volunteer group of private citizens. HistoricBridges.org is NOT a government agency, does not represent or work with any governmental agencies, nor is it in any way associated with any government agency or any non-profit organization. While we strive for accuracy in our factual content, HistoricBridges.org offers no guarantee of accuracy. Information is provided "as is" without warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied. Information could include technical inaccuracies or errors of omission. Opinions and commentary are the opinions of the respective HistoricBridges.org member who made them and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone else, including any outside photographers whose images may appear on the page in which the commentary appears. HistoricBridges.org does not bear any responsibility for any consequences resulting from the use of this or any other HistoricBridges.org information. Owners and users of bridges have the responsibility of correctly following all applicable laws, rules, and regulations, regardless of any HistoricBridges.org information.