ASCE Honors Thomas Viaduct Railroad Bridge

Written by Jennifer McLawhorn, Managing Editor
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Courtesy of Nheitjan via Wikimedia Commons

ELKRIDGE, Md. – The Thomas Viaduct Railroad Bridge was honored as a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark by the Maryland chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers.

The American Society of Civil Engineers will honor the Thomas Viaduct Railroad Bridge as a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark. According to the Baltimore Sun, the Maryland Chapter of the ASCE recognizes “historically significant civil engineering projects, structures and sites worldwide,” and close to 300 projects have earned the title. The dedication occurred on Saturday, April 13th in Elkridge.

ASCE’s Historic Civil Engineering Landmark Program includes a physical on-site plaque and an online historical record. The program seeks to increase public appreciation of civil engineering contributions and provide engineers with “an historical awareness of their own profession for both practical insights and pride.” A current map of ASCE Historical Civil Engineering Landmarks can be found here.

Map of Thomas Viaduct Railroad Bridge Location / Courtesy of ASCE

The ASCE says the bridge was built in 1835 and is “the first multiple-arch, stone railroad viaduct in the United States,” and it has “eight arches each with a clear span of about 58 feet.”  Known as “Latrobe’s Folly,” people did not expect the bridge to be able to support its 63,000 tons of granite. In 1835, the bridge was recognized by the American Railroad Journal for its engineering significance, and the “uniqueness of Latrobe’s design is noted in the 1888 edition of Mahan’s treatise on Civil Engineering.”

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