Letter to the Editor: Replacement bridge should be train-worthy

By Jeff Bergstrom, Charles City

Concerning the Charley Western Railway’s Stoney Point arch limestone bridge over the Cedar River on the bike trail around Charles City: They have discovered that the bridge has a major problem with the middle arch due to the fact it has a split opening in it to where the sand that’s in the bridge is leaking out and the deck on top of the bridge is caving in.

That CCWRY bridge was built in 1910 as a hollow stone arch bridge of native limestone from old quarries near Floyd. The bridge was filled with sand to a little over three-fourths of the way up the bridge and then 1-inch and ¾-inch crushed rock tamped under the ties to level the track with the track that was at each end of the bridge.

Stoney Point Bridge is a three stone arch bridge and with the middle arch being the problem I would have to bet that the flood of 2008 damaged it and it could very well get FEMA monies to fix it and repair it or even replace it with a new one.

If they replace it with a new one, they better replace it with a very strong steel bridge — strong enough and wide enough to bear the weight of a freight train.

The reason why is obvious. If in the future they get industry located on the south side of town and that industry or industries wants rail service, they will have to re-lay railroad tracks over the trail to serve those industries and will clearly need a Stoney Point Bridge to serve them.

The 2008 flood wiped out the old swinging bridge in Charles City. Also down at Evansdale and LaPorte, wiped out the old Waterloo, Cedar Falls Northern RR bridges over the Cedar River south of Waterloo and they all got FEMA monies to replace those bridges.

I recommend contacting R.J. Corman Railroad Services about either repairing or replacing the CCW’s Stoney Point Bridge here, because you’re dealing with an old railroad bridge here and possibly a new future railroad bridge here also.

The WCF & NRR “electric railroad” bridges were built the same way as the CCW’s Stoney Point Bridge, construction-wise, south of Waterloo, and they were badly wrecked by that 2008 flood.