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Historic Bridges of Nebraska

Lincoln County

Sutherland State Aid Bridge

County Road over the North Platte River
4.2 Miles North of Sutherland
Lincoln County, Nebraska
Total Length: 795 ft.
Roadway Width: 16 ft.
14-Span, Concrete Filled Spandrel Arch
C005661710
Sutherland State Aid Bridge

BUILT: 1914-15 by the Lincoln Construction Company

By 1912 the existing timber pile bridge over the North Platte River north of Sutherland had deteriorated beyond repair. Citizens in Birdwood Precinct where the bridge lay voted a bond issue in April, and the county for its part secured assistance from the state aid bridge fund. Early in 1914 the Nebraska State Engineer produced six alternate designs for a multiple-span concrete structure here. The designs delineated fourteen 50-foot concrete arches or 23 33-foot concrete girders, with a variety of substructures and either 16-foot roadways or 12-foot roadways with a turnout at the bridge's center.

After soliciting bids in April for the Birdwood Bridge (so named for the precinct), Lincoln County awarded the contract to the Lincoln Construction Company for the arches on wood pile foundations. The Lincoln-based firm began soon thereafter, assembling a sizable crew at the site. Work progressed throughout the remainder of 1914 and into the following year. At the end of December, 1915, the immense structure, by now called the Sutherland State Aid Bridge, was completed. Total cost: $36,345. The Sutherland Bridge has carried traffic since, in unaltered condition.

The Sutherland State Aid Bridge is historically significant as a regionally important crossing of the North Platte River along the state's heavily settled Platte River corridor. This remarkable structure is technologically significant as the best example in Nebraska of concrete arch construction. Of the 17 multiple-span concrete arch bridges built under the state aid program in the 1910s and 1920s, all but the Sutherland Bridge have been destroyed or substantially altered, leaving this structure as the sole intact example of this important construction trend. The Missouri River bridges aside, the Sutherland State Aid Bridge is the most important vehicular span in Nebraska.

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