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Charles M. Braga, Jr. Memorial Bridge


Municipality: Fall River/Somerset

Bridge Owner: Massachusetts Highway Department

Facility On Bridge: I-195

Feature Under Bridge: Taunton River

Date Built: 1965 Date Rebuilt: 1989

Overall Length: 5,780'

Overall Width: 101.3'


Structure Type:

The main bridge is a 3-span continuous riveted steel through truss, a single intersection Warren with verticals; cast-in-place concrete deck. The approach spans are continuous riveted plate girders.

The 1989 rehabilitation included the replacement of the existing concrete deck with a lightweight concrete deck overlain with bituminous concrete; New Jersey Barriers were added; steel was repaired as needed.


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Cape Cod Canal Bridges

Spanning the original Cape Cod Canal, constructed by New York financier August Belmont, were two twin cantilever draw type highway bridges and a draw type bascule railroad bridge with openings over the water of only 140 feet. These narrow passages, combined with the swift currents and winding approaches, made mariners leery of using the waterway. Going around the tip of the cape, however, added up to 165 miles to their trip through waters where many ships had already sunk. Since the drawbridges could only be crossed when there was no marine traffic, automobiles going to and from Cape Cod also experienced delays.


When the Corps of Engineers was assigned responsibility for the waterway in 1928, a series of improvements began, including the replacement of the three bridges.

On September 6, 1933, the Public Works Administration (the agency responsible for managing Emergency Relief funds during the Great Depression) authorized construction of three bridges over the Canal. Contractors began laying the bridge foundations in December 1933. In accordance with Public Works Administration regulations, work was distributed widely; and, wherever practical, hand labor was used instead of machinery to provide as many jobs as possible.


The two highway bridges were designed and Fay, Spofford and Thorndike of Boston supervised construction. They retained the Boston architectural firm of Cram and Ferguson to advise upon architectural details and the appearance of the structures.

The Sagamore Bridge was constructed about two and one half miles from the eastern end of the Canal land cut, and the Bourne Bridge about one and two thirds miles from the western end of the land cut. The bridges each have a main span measuring 616 feet between centers of support and a vertical clearance of 135 feet above high water. The structures differ in the number of approach spans. The roadway width of the bridges, designed for four lane traffic, is 40 feet between curbs. Built simultaneously, the bridges were dedicated on June 22, 1935, and opened to traffic.

The Bourne Bridge won the American Institute of Steel Construction's Class "A" Award of Merit as "The Most Beautiful Bridge Built During 1934."

The vertical lift railroad bridge, with a 544 foot horizontal span, was constructed close to the western end of the land cut, near the site of the old bridge. At the time of its construction, it was the longest lift span in the world, supported by 271 foot high towers. The span is normally kept in the raised position; 135 feet above mean high water. The New York firms of Parsons, Klapp, Brinckerhoff, and Douglas and Mead and White prepared plans for the bridge. Work began on December 18, 1933, and almost two years later the first train rolled across it on December 29, 1935.


Over the years, minor repair work, such as painting of the superstructures and resurfacing of the roadways, was accomplished on the bridges. In 1980, however, major rehabilitation of the two highway bridges began. The work included replacement of the decks, repaving, repainting, installation of twelve foot high suicide deterrent fences, and, on the Sagamore Bridge, replacement of the hanger cables. The rehabilitation costs were $12 million for the Bourne Bridge, and $8 million for the Sagamore Bridge. Hanger cables on the Bourne Bridge were replaced in January 1986.

Each year, more than 35 million vehicles pass over these two bridges, which provide the only land link between Cape Cod and the rest of Massachusetts.

Operation of the railroad bridge is completely funded by the Corps of Engineers. For many years trains were the primary means of transportation to and from the Cape for people and goods. By the late 1960s, however, train trips across the bridge had dropped off significantly. Currently, almost exclusively trash trains servicing the Cape now that most landfills are closed use the bridge.

50 Years Ago

Dedication ceremonies for the bridges were held on June 22, 1935. More than 8,000 people participated in a parade, which began at Trading Post Corners on the south side of the Canal. Led by Major General Daniel Needham, participants included troops from his 26th Yankee Division, state troopers, floats from a number of communities, bands, drum and bugle corps, fire apparatus and veterans organizations.

Governors James Michael Curley of Massachusetts and Theodore Francis Green of Rhode Island and Mrs. August Belmont, widow of the original Canal builder August Perry Belmont, were among the dignitaries.

Between 100,000 and 200,000 were reported to have viewed the parade along its 7 1/2 mile route across both bridges. At the Bourne Bridge, Governor Curley performed the ceremonial ribbon-cutting honors. The Massachusetts governor lavished praise on the entire Canal project, stating: "The construction of these beautiful bridges and the expenditure of nearly $40,000,000 for the development of this inland waterway is bound to contribute to the happiness and well being of the people of Massachusetts." At the Sagamore Bridge, Mrs. Belmont severed the ribbon, while aerial shows went on overhead.

Bourne Town Hall was the site of a Ball on Friday night, and Saturday evening a banquet was held at the State Pier, with Governor Curley as principal speaker. The town also hosted another dance that evening, while the SS. Boston of the Eastern Steamship Line passed through the Canal, ablaze with twinkling lights, waving pennants and whistles blowing in salute to the new bridges.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is proud of our more than seven decades of service to the Cape Cod area. The work we have accomplished since being assigned responsibility for the world-famous Cape Cod Canal in 1928 is significant. Improving and maintaining the Canal including the three bridges that span it has been a unique and rewarding challenge. Our efforts have contributed to the economy and quality of life in the region, and to those who live, work, and play here.


From Army Corp of Engineers Website

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The "Bear Bryant Bridge" in eastern Tuscaloosa will open in a couple of months :


The following shows the bridge between downtown Tuscaloosa and downtown Northport (assorted bridges have spanned that area since 1822), and the railroad bridge (longest railroad bridge in the country when built about a century ago, and today is still one of the longest wooden railroad trestles) :


There has been talk of lighting both bridges for decades, but because of Alabama's usual funding issues, it always gets shoved to the back burner.


The US 82 bridge is the one I drive over about every day, but I couldn't find a good photo. Here's a link to a photo of US 82 approaching the bridge :


Here's the toll bridge on the west side of town :


About an hour's drive north of Tuscaloosa is said to be the longest "natural bridge" east of the Rockies : http://wcgs.ala.nu/naturalbridgehistory.htm

A couple hundred miles south of Tuscaloosa...

The I-10 "causeway" in Mobile (w/ US 90 bridge off to the left) :


The longest cable-stayed bridge span in the U.S. is being constructed along US82 from Greenville, MS to Arkansas, for completion in 2006:


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Queensboro (59th Street) Bridge

Municipality: New York City, NY : Connecting the boroughs of Manhattan and Queens.

Bridge Owner: Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority

Facility On Bridge: NY25

Feature Under Bridge: East River and Roosevelt Island

Date Built: 1901-1909

Overall Length: 7,449'

Queensboro Bridge under construction in 1907:


Queensboro Bridge from Queens with Roosevelt Island Tramway beside it:



I was looking for pictures of the bridge and came across this one. It is from September 11th 2001 and shows peole walking over the bridge to escape from Manhattan. I was one of the people walking over the bridge this day. The bridge does feature and pedestrian and bike route, however, September 11th was the only time I ever walked over the bridge. Next time I'm in NYC I really should walk over it in better times.


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Pistcataqua River Bridge

Municipality: Portsmouth, NH & Kittery, ME

Bridge Owner: State of New Hampshire

Facility On Bridge: I-95

Feature Under Bridge: Pistcataqua River

Date Built: 1971

Overall Length: 4,502'




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I like this photo of bridges in Boston because it shows the Longfellow Bridge built of stone in the foreground 1800's, the Tobin Bridge built with girders in the background, mid-1900s, and the ZBH bridge, cable stayed, built in the 2000s in the middle. (From the Big Dig website)


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The Mighty Mackinac Bridge...uniting Michigan's two peninsulas. Construction started on May 7, 1954 and was opened to traffic November 1, 1957.

Total Length of Bridge (5 Miles) 26,372 Ft.

Total Length of Steel Superstructure 19,243 Ft.

Length of Suspension Bridge (including Anchorages) 8,614 Ft.

Total Length of North Approach 7,129 Ft.

Length of Main Span (between Main Towers) 3,800 Ft.

Height of Main Towers above Water 552 Ft.

Maximum Depth to Rock at Midspan Unknown Unknown

Maximum Depth of Water at Midspan 295 Ft.

Maximum Depth of Tower Piers below Water 210 Ft. 64 Meters

Height of Roadway above Water at Midspan 199 Ft. 61 Meters

Underclearance at Midspan for Ships 155 Ft.

Maximum Depth of Water at Piers142 Ft.

Maximum Depth of Piers Sunk through Overburden105 Ft.

Total Length of Wire in Main Cables 42,000 Miles

Maximum Tension in Each Cable 16,000 Tons

Number of Wires in Each Cable 12,580

Weight of Cables 11,840 Tons

Diameter of Main Cables 24 1/2 Inches

Diameter of Each Wire 0.196 Inches

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It also shows the Green Line Viaduct over the Charles River Dam.

Next to the viaduct is the Gilmore bridge from Leverette Circle to the Science Museum. Farther east is the railroad bridges transversing the Charles from the back of North Station. When the "Green Monster" is torn down you will be able to see the Charlestown bridge on the other side of the Charles River Lochs. It's amazing how many bridges (and tunnels) there are in this one photograph! There is even a pedestrian bridge over Storrow Drive!

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Point Street Bridge

Providence, RI


Photo by: Richard Benjamin

I like to have lunch on the dock here (well, when it's not covered in snow). It's called Corliss Landing. I walk over this bridge every day. The ferry to Newport leaves from the other side of the river.

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