Construction of First Span

Pierre Weekly Dakotan
January 31, 1907
Steel Work Begun

The legislature has so much attracted the attention of every one, and the work upon the big bridge across the Missouri river has gone on so systematically and quietly that few of our people are aware that last Tuesday......the approach from the east built upon piling had been completed to the first stone pier, and from that point false work is erected resting upon piling set through the ice into the bed of the river....caissons three and four have been sunk to bed rock and sealed and the pier at caisson three is completed and that at four is about done. 

The big octagonal caisson for the center pier, upon which the turntable will revolve, is down fifteen feet and very little difficulty is being experienced in sinking it.  The caisson for the two remaining bridge piers will be ready for the air by the first of February and it is the expectation to have them all completed before the ice breaks in March.  After the bridge piers are completed there is one more caisson to sink for the ice breaker to protect the turntable....

The steel will all be handled from this end.  By the time the first span, for which the piers are now ready, is completed the draw span may be taken up and there is likely to be nothing to interfere with the progress of the steel work from this time forward.  The steel contract is separate from that for the piers, the latter begin done by W. W. McDonald & Co., but the steel work is in the hands of the L.M. Bernhisel Construction Co.

While the extremely cold weather is severe upon the men above ground it does not all interfere with the “sandhogs” as the men who work below are called by their fellows, and the unusually strong ice bridge greatly facilitates the entire procedure.

Pile Driver Work began on the temporary railroad bridge on November of 1905. The first official train crossed the temporary bridge shortly before Christmas Day 1905.
Pier 2, Lowering Caisson Caissons were used to sink Piers to the solid shale foundation, some forty feet below river. This images shows the caisson of Pier 2, on November 30, 1906.
Completion of Pier 2 Completion of Pier 2, January 31, 1907.
View of Bridge, May 1907 The 445 foot long pin-connected, through-truss draw span was completed by May of 1907. The draw span would open to allow river traffic to pass through.
Road Grading Crew This image shows the railroad grading crews near Ft. Pierre that prepared the rail to the new bridge.
Completed Bridge View of the completed bridge taken in 1909.  A steamboat is seen in the foreground.