Bertram Road Bridge Construction and Relocation
The Bertram Road Bridge, also known as the “Blue Bridge,” is being replaced by Linn County to allow two-way traffic across the bridge. Indian Creek Nature Center will now become the new home of the old bridge. The county will be permanently closing the old bridge as work advances on the new bridge. The bridge is expected to be closed from March 13 until October or November when the new bridge is completed.
You can see the progress being made on construction and relocation on the live Bertram Road Bridge Web Camera.
Accessing ICNC During Bridge Closure
When The Old Bridge is Being Moved
Linn County Secondary Road Department expects the “Blue Bridge” to be relocated in April. This timeline is dependent on weather and other conditions, meaning the bridge relocation could easily happen on another date. The day the bridge is being relocated Linn County crews will close Otis Road SE east of Indian Creek Nature Center’s main driveway. Bertram Road will also be closed from the juncture with Berry Road (just south of the bridge) to the juncture with Otis Road (near the Penningroth Barn). This means that on this day, Amazing Space will be accessible from the west but not from Highway 13 via Bertram Road.
The Bertram Road Bridge’s New Home
The historic “Blue Bridge” will become a welcome feature of our trails that preserves the history of our neighborhood while creating a beautiful place along our trails for taking pictures and enjoying nature. The bridge’s new home will go over a ravine to connect the northeast corner of the Stimple Prairie and the northwest corner of the Cedar Rapids Prairie.
In preparation for relocating the “Blue Bridge” to its new home, abutments are being created for the bridge to rest upon. This requires workers bringing large equipment, materials and trucks through our prairie trails. To ensure the safety of our trail users, these areas will be closed until the bridge is relocated.
History of Bertram Road Bridge
The Bertram bridge was built in 1876 by the Wrought Iron Bridge Company (WIBCo) using a design patented in 1876 and was presumably one of the first bridges to use the new design. WIBCo’s patented design was a variation of a standard Pratt truss configuration, employing double-intersecting counter members radiating outward from the center of the span. This early wrought-iron truss features four timber stringer spans at its north approach and is supported by a combination of stone and timber abutments. With no alterations on record, this bridge continued to serve vehicle traffic until 2022 at 146 years old.
This bridge has survived many floods, most notably in 1993 and 2008. Thankfully, the high water was mostly backwater from the Cedar River, which did not carry a damaging current. Multiple repairs have been made to the bridge over the years. Per inspection records, the timber deck surface was replaced in 1926, 1940, 1954, 1987, and 1996 and the timber approach spans were completely reconstructed in 1987. To protect the integrity of the steel, the truss was painted several times, most notably in 1991 when it received a royal blue treatment earning it the “Blue Bridge” nickname.