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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Fort Morgan in Morgan County, Colorado — The American Mountains (Southwest)
 

Rainbow Arch Bridge

 
 
Rainbow Arch Bridge Marker image. Click for full size.
By Beverly Pfingsten, June 13, 2011
1. Rainbow Arch Bridge Marker
Inscription. Spanning the South Platte River, the Rainbow Arch Bridge carried vehicular traffic from its completion in 1923 until its closure in 1988. Engineer James B. Marsh of Des Moines, Iowa, designed the structure in 1922. Denver bridge contractor Charles G. Sheely built it in 1922-23 for just over $69,000. With its eleven 90-foot concrete arches, the bridge extended over 1,100 feet. A year after it was finished, light standards were installed that linked the bridge visually with Fort Morgan's Main Street.

For the Rainbow Arch Bridge, Marsh used a design that he had patented in 1912. Marsh's invention was an ingenious blend of steel and concrete technologies, which combined the concrete arch form with a sophisticated steel reinforcing system. The reinforcing was so heavy and complex, in fact, that his bridges have been called steel structures with concrete veneers. Marsh built several small-scale and medium-scale rainbow arches throughout the Midwest in the 1910s. This bridge at Fort Morgan represented the first large-scale application of his distinctive design.

The bridge at Fort Morgan has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is the only rainbow arch built in Colorado, and at its completion it was the longest rainbow arch in the world. It is today a nationally significant example of the important, but relatively uncommon,

Rainbow Arch Bridge image. Click for full size.
By Beverly Pfingsten, June 13, 2011
2. Rainbow Arch Bridge
structural type. As it arches gracefully over the broad Platte River, the Rainbow Arch Bridge symbolizes the permanence of early highway construction in the state.
 
Location. 40° 16.044′ N, 103° 48.076′ W. Marker is near Fort Morgan, Colorado, in Morgan County. Marker is on State Highway 52 0.1 miles north of Interstate 76, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Fort Morgan CO 80701, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 4 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Fort Morgan (here, next to this marker); Sugar Beets (here, next to this marker); Watching River Wildlife (here, next to this marker); Old Fort Morgan (approx. half a mile away).
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Marsh Rainbow Arch Bridge in Kansas.
 
Categories. Bridges & Viaducts
 
Rainbow Arch Bridge image. Click for full size.
By Beverly Pfingsten, June 13, 2011
3. Rainbow Arch Bridge
Rainbow Arch Bridge image. Click for full size.
By Beverly Pfingsten, June 13, 2011
4. Rainbow Arch Bridge
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on September 15, 2011, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. This page has been viewed 989 times since then and 38 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on September 15, 2011, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.
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