CT's Historic Masonry Arches


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Saugatuck River Bridge,
Bridge No. 1349


Saugatuck River Bridge

Route 136 over Saugatuck River
Westport
Wrought-iron swing truss
Length: 2 spans, 286' overall, 142' swing span
Built in 1884
Union Bridge Company, fabricator


Saugatuck River BridgeConnecticut's oldest surviving movable bridge consists of a hand-cranked swing span and a fixed approach span. Both are pin-connected Pratt through trusses. The swing span, actually two Pratt trusses joined by eyebars at the portal joints, revolves on large rollers that travel along a circular track affixed to the pivot pier. To open the bridge, the operator uses a long T-handled socket wrench to turn a small pinion gear below the bridge deck. The pinion in turn meshes with a fixed ring gear, causing the bridge to rotate.

The bridge's fabricator, Union Bridge Company of Buffalo, N.Y., was a pioneer in the design and construction of movable bridges. The firm had built what they claimed in 1876 was the longest draw bridge ever built, 444', over the Mississippi River. One of the proprietors, Charles H. Kellogg, was renowned for his patented method of die-forging eyebars. Under one name or another, the firm was in business from 1870 to 1900, when it was absorbed into the American Bridge Company.

Westport's swing bridge was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1987.

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