Middlesex-Winooski River Bridge


The Middlesex-Winooski River Bridge has carried U.S. Route 2 across the Winooski River at Middlesex since its construction by the American Bridge Company in 1928. This crossing historically served as a portion of the primary travel route between the state Capital, Montpelier, and Vermont's largest city, Burlington, prior to the construction of Interstate 89. It replaced an earlier structure that was lost in the flood of November 1927, the worst natural disaster in Vermont's history, which damaged approximately 1,200 Vermont bridges. The Middlesex-Winooski River Bridge is an example of the remarkable reconstruction efforts undertaken after the disastrous flood, which necessitated the reconstruction or replacement of almost all of the transportation infrastructure in the valleys of the White and Winooski Rivers and their tributaries.

The town of Middlesex, a short distance up-river from the bridge, was a commercial and agricultural center prior to the flood and sustained heavy damages to its buildings and farms. The village was isolated by the ravages of the flood and rapid replacement of all means of through-transport was vital. The bridge was constructed with funds primarily provided by the State, which, as a result of the widespread need for rebuilding, created a wholly new approach to comprehensive infrastructure planning. The American Bridge Company, a subsidiary of U.S. Steel, constructed the bridge. The company was established by steel and railroad financier J.P. Morgan in 1900 to absorb competing steel fabricating companies, several of which were local Vermont manufacturers. American Bridge dominated bridge construction in Vermont, and after the flood erected numerous bridges similar to the Middlesex-Winooski.

The bridge is a Pratt through-truss bridge, patented in 1844, which became a common standard for this type of bridge. It used pre-fabricated parts assembled on-site, which were particularly well-suited for these replacement bridges where it was difficult to manufacture the materials at the site. The bridge has changed little since it was first erected and still retains its original materials, design and is the principal feature of its rural environment.

The Middlesex-Winooski Bridge carries U.S. Route 2 as it crosses the Winooski River northwest of the village of Middlesex. It is on a public highway and access is unrestricted.

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