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Big Blue River Bridge



View Beside Bridge.

Big Blue River Bridge; seen from the southwest. The bridge is located in Butler County, Nebraska, where county road E crosses the Big Blue east-southeast of Surprise, Nebraska. It was built in 1897, and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Photo taken by anonymous


Information From Historic Bridge Inventory 

From Historic Bridge Inventory By Clayton B. Fraser

Located a mile from the small town of Surprise, this small-scale bridge consists of a single-span pinned Pratt bedstead, flanked on each end by a single steel stringer approach. According to county records, the Butler County Supervisors awarded a contract to the Canton Bridge Company for a bridge over the Blue River near Surprise. Using components rolled in Pittsburgh by Jones and Laughlin, the Ohio-based bridge contractor evidently erected this bedstead early the next year. The Big Blue River Bridge is technologically significant as one of the oldest documentable examples in Nebraska of this peculiar structural type.


Pony truss bridge over Big Blue River on E Road, .5 mi. east and .3 mi. south of Surprise
Butler County, Nebraska
Open to traffic
Built 1897 by the Canton Bridge Co.; rehabilitated 1999
- Canton Bridge Co. of Canton, Ohio
Bedstead pratt pony truss
Length of largest span: 40.0 ft.
Total length: 65.9 ft.
Deck width: 15.7 ft.
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on June 29, 1992
Approximate latitude, longitude
+41.10096, -97.29170   (decimal degrees)
41°06'03" N, 97°17'30" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
14/643454/4551371 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Inventory numbers
NRHP 92000708 (National Register of Historic Places reference number)
BH 23825 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection (as of 10/2008)
Deck condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Superstructure condition rating: Poor (4 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Appraisal: Structurally deficient
Sufficiency rating: 22.2 (out of 100)
Average daily traffic (as of 2003)

Update Log 

  • September 28, 2010: New photos from Nathan Holth
  • June 14, 2010: Essay added by Nathan Holth