Sutherland State Aid Bridge

By 1912 the existing timber pile bridge over the North Platte River north of Sutherland had deteriorated beyond repair. Voters in Birdwood Precinct in which the bridge lay voted a bond issue in April 1912 and again the following year, and the county sought financial assistance from the newly formed state aid bridge fund. At the end of December 1915, the immense structure, by now called the Sutherland State Aid Bridge, was completed at a total cost of $36,345. The Sutherland Bridge has carried traffic since, in unaltered condition.

The significance of the Sutherland State Aid Bridge to the history of Nebraska bridge building can hardly be understated. This remarkable structure is significant as perhaps the best remaining example of the state aid bridges. Although some 77 structures were built throughout the state under this program between 1912 and 1936, only 17 remain in use. The Sutherland Bridge is also technologically significant as the best example in the state of concrete arch construction. Moreover, of the 17 multiple-span concrete arch bridges built under the state aid program in the 1910s and 1920s, all but the Sutherland Bridge have been destroyed or substantially altered, leaving this structure as the sole intact example of this important construction trend. The Missouri River bridges aside, the Sutherland State Aid Bridge is the most important vehicular span in Nebraska.