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Grand Avenue Bridge,
Bridge No. 3874
• Grand Avenue over railroad
• New Haven
• Concrete arch
• Length: 3 spans, 150' overall, 40' maximum span length
• Built in 1907
Just as railroads had pioneered iron bridges in the 19th century, so to railroads were among the first in Connecticut to make substantial use of reinforced concrete as a bridge material. The Court Street bridge is one of five similar structures built by the New Haven Railroad as part of the reconstruction of its main line north of New Haven station. The New Haven Cut, as it was known, ran below the level of the city's streets, so the project required numerous bridges. Because of the curving alignment of the railroad and its approximately 20-degree skew with Grand Avenue, in plan the bridge is trapezoid-shaped, with the north side some 25' longer than the south. This difference in length is taken up in the peir just west of the center span and the space was once used as a track maintenance storage area.
Reinforced concrete was still a new technique in 1907. The reinforcing in these plainly detailed arches is not the standard steel bar in use today, but rather T-rail salvaged by the railroad and assembled into self-supporting arches prior to the pouring of the concrete.