Friday, November 4, 2011

Utah's Bridges: Elgin Bridge over the Green River

May 2006 (38.985 Degrees-110.150 Degrees) Green River Bridge
In May, 2006 I drove to Green River State Park for a five day (400 mile) bike ride around southeastern Utah. The Green River is an oasis in the middle of a vast desert. On the west side of the river is the town of Green River and on the east side is the town of Elgin. Both towns prospered with the coming of the railroad in the 1880s. The grade at Green River is the lowest point on the rails, but it's still almost a mile above sea level. Lying in my sleeping bag at night I could hear the trains crossing the bridge at the southern edge of the campground.

I'm not sure what the first railroad bridge across the Green River was like. However, there are a dozen photos taken by George Edward Anderson of a four span through truss bridge being built around 1900 on the Brigham Young University Library Website. The current Elgin Bridge is a three span Warren truss bridge with the truss panels subdivided with vertical members in order to carry bigger loads. According to The Bridge Hunter, this bridge is composed of three 170 ft spans for a total length of 510 ft. It's only 18 ft wide and sits on masonry piers and seat-type abutments. I couldn't find when the current bridge was built or if they ever moved the tracks. I have a vague memory of the tracks being moved at some point, but maybe I'm confused.

The tracks are owned by the Union Pacific and used by Amtrak's California Zephyr, which takes three days to go from Emeryville, California to Chicago, Illinois. I've taken this trip in a sleeper car and it's a very nice experience.
Creative Commons License
Utah's Bridges: Elgin Bridge over the Green River by Mark Yashinsky is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.


  1. A 400 mile bike trip in Utah! Yikes!

    Mark you have done everything! Nice website update by the way.


  2. Thanks Anonymous …, if that's your real name.
    Mark Y