Union Pacific Missouri River Bridge

Union Pacific Missouri River Bridge

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Union Pacific Missouri River Bridge

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The Union Pacific Missouri River Bridge is a rail truss bridge across the Missouri River connecting Council Bluffs, Iowa with Omaha, Nebraska.


When it first opened on March 25, 1873, it connected the First Transcontinental Railroad to the eastern United States. It has been rebuilt twice with the current bridge opening in 1916.

When the Union Pacific began heading west from Omaha in 1862 there were no railroads connecting to it from the east. Initial plans called for trains to connect to it by ferry. After the Chicago and North Western Railway reached Council Bluffs in 1867, the Union Pacific for a while tried to run freight trains across the frozen river during the winter.

In 1869 the transcontinental railroad was completed. An 1871 report to stockholders has this description:

The want of a bridge over the Missouri River, at Omaha to connect the eastern railroads with the Union Pacific, has been one of the most annoying incidents connected with the trip to California.

The bridge is of 11 spans, 250 feet each, 50 feet above high water, resting upon one store abutment now complete; and 11 iron piers, all in place and the larger part already sunk from 60 to 72 feet in the sand,......

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