Old Bahia Honda Channel Bridge

Out of all channels to be crossed by Henry Flagler's Florida East Cost Railway in the Florida Keys, the Bahia Honda Channel was the deepest, with a maximum depth of 24 feet. As a result a truss bridge was constructed, since the truss can span longer distances than concrete arches. Most of the concrete arch bridges had 35 foot spans, though the Long Key Bridge had some arches with 50 foot spans. The steel girder spans were 80 feet (60 feet over Pigeon Key). The Bahia Honda Channel Bridge's spans varied on channel depth. The center span is a Parker truss with a span of 247 feet. 13 larger Pratt thru truss spans on either side of the Parker truss have 186 foot spans. 13 smaller Pratt thru trusses with 128 foot spans are on either side of the larger Pratt trusses. Finally, the bridge has 9 deck girder spans at its west end. While the smaller Pratt spans have riveted connections, the larger Pratt and Parker truss spans have pinned connections in the center area of the low chord, making the bridge the longest pin-connected truss bridge in America, if not the world! After the 1935 Hurricane when the railroad was sold to the Overseas Road and Toll Bridge District, the bridge was converted to vehicular use. Instead of widening the trusses, a wider bridge deck was built over the trusses! Therefore, the bridge became a deck truss. Its Parker span might be the only such deck truss in the country if not the world! In 1972, the bridge was the first of the major Florida Keys bridges to be bypassed. One truss span at the east side and one deck girder span at the west side was removed. While most of the bridge has be abandoned, the remaining west approach was opened for pedestrian use in Bahia Honda State Park.

Recognition

America's longest pin-connected truss bridge, Listed on the National Register of Historic Places

Location

24.655047, -81.288351
Monroe County, Florida

External Links