Today, as crews were lifting the Bertram “Blue” Bridge off its foundation as part of the planned bridge replacement and relocation project, the structure twisted and was damaged in the process. Bertram Road was already closed to traffic – and still is – because it is an active construction site. No one was injured.
The 146-year-old Bertram “Blue” Bridge was to be moved to the Indian Creek Nature Center for use on the trail system at the Nature Center. Due to the damage sustained while lifting the bridge, the Linn County Secondary Road Department does not think the structure is salvageable. Engineering contractors will evaluate the bridge structure to make a final determination.
“We are disappointed that the Blue Bridge most likely will not be moved and reused at the Nature Center as planned," said Linn County Assistant Engineer Garret Reddish. “Due to the age of the bridge, it was always a possibility that the structure could be damaged during the lifting and moving process, and that’s what happened.”
The rest of the Bertram Road and bridge replacement project will continue. The project includes removing the existing road, realigning the road for the new bridge, installing new culverts, and replacing the old truss bridge with a new IDOT standard concrete beam bridge. Road closures were already in effect around the project. Many of the closures will remain in effect until the completion of the entire Bertram Bridge project in October 2023.
Drivers are reminded to comply with all traffic signs around construction projects. Do not drive around the barricades in place to protect the public and road crews.
The Bertram “Blue” Bridge was a registered historic structure. Due to this designation, Linn County was required to mitigate its loss as part of the planned replacement for the bridge. The mitigation plans included moving the 146-year-old bridge to the Indian Creek Nature Center for use on its trail system and placing an informational kiosk at the new location as well as signage to mark the original location of the bridge. Linn County plans to keep the signage portion of the mitigation plan in place and will explore other options to preserve the bridge’s 146-year history.
To receive text or email updates on this and other Linn County Secondary Road construction projects, visit LinnCountyIowa.gov/NotifyMe.
For additional information on road closures in the Linn County secondary road system, visit Linn County’s road closure and restrictions webpage.
Bertram "Blue" Bridge damaged during a planned bridge relocation project as it was lifted off its foundation. The road was closed to the public at the time of the move. No one was injured.