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March 1872

First Bridge Across the Missouri River

One of the most impressive of its day, the Union Pacific Railroad Bridge was built at a cost of nearly $2.9 million. The Grenville Dodge design was a half-mile long and featured 11 spans, each 250 feet long and 60 feet above water. Tubular-iron piers were planted in bedrock and supported with concrete and masonry. Severe winds damaged the structure in 1877. The bridge was repaired in 1887 and rebuilt twice, in 1888 and 1916. The completion of this bridge marked the true completion of the Transcontinental Railroad.

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Before construction of the Missouri River bridge was completed, crews built a bridge on the ice to move supplies during the winter months.

In 2012, Union Pacific celebrates the shared stories that have shaped our country since 1862. To mark our 150th anniversary, we invite you to explore how the nation’s largest railroad came to be and how UP continues to build America with innovation and tenacity, touching the lives of nearly every citizen.