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John A. Weeks III
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Highways, Byways, And Bridge Photography
McGilvray Road Bridge #6
The Historic Truss Bridges Of The Van Loon Wildlife Area
New Amsterdam, WI

McGilvray Road Bridge #6

• Bridge Type: Steel Bowstring Arch Truss
• Length: 50 Feet Overall, 50 Foot Longest Span
• Width: 17 Feet
• Date Built: Built 1905, Restored 1992–1997
Bridge #6 is the final bridge before the main channel of the Black River. Given that it is nearly 2 miles from the parking lot, the bridge sees relatively little traffic. Both the bridge and the trail are nearly overgrown except for the center of the path which is occasionally mowed during the summer. Bridge #6 happens to be the shortest of the bridges, and has the shortest of the bowstring arch truss bridge spans at 50 feet.

The bulk of the heavy construction aspects of the restoration project were carried out during the winter of 1991 and 1992. Due to the swampy conditions, it was only possible to bring in equipment during the winter. Bridge #6 had collapsed into the water. It had to be raised from the swamp and required extensive restoration. Bridges #2, #3, and #4 needed new abutments, wing walls, and piers. Bridge #6 was reinstalled in 1996, and Bridge #5 was moved into place in 1997. The final step was the installation of new wooden decking in 1998.

The restored McGilvray Road and its collection of historic bridges was formally reopened to pedestrian traffic on September 7, 1997. The structures are nationally recognized has being historically significant, and the restoration project has been a remarkable success. The river bottom area still floods, and the 100 year old bridges do require maintenance from time to time. Fortunately, the ‘Friends’ are still there to take care of the bridges, ensuring that future generations will be able to enjoy them.

The photo above is a view of Bridge #6 as one would approach the bridge while heading west on McGilvray Road. The photo below is looking east down the length of the bridge deck. Vegetation is growing through the open spaces in the bridge truss due to the river channel being plugged with debris and choked with trees and brush.


McGilvray Road Bridge #6
McGilvray Road Bridge #6
The photo above is looking north from the deck of Bridge #6. The photo below is looking south from the deck of Bridge #6. The side channel that once flowed under this bridge is choked with sentiment and is little more than a small stagnant lake.

McGilvray Road Bridge #6
McGilvray Road Bridge #6
The photo above is looking east from the southwest corner of the structure. The photo below is looking west down McGilvray Road towards the main river channel, located 1,200 feet west of Bridge #6. The old roadbed has suffered flood damage in this area, and it is heavily overgrown. The trail narrows down to a footpath as you near the main river channel.

McGilvray Road Bridge #6

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