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The Piedmont and Northern Railroad / Southern Railroad Bridge


The Piedmont and Northern Railroad / Southern Railroad bridge is located in the Third Ward section of Charlotte, between the Bank of America football stadium and Cedar Street. The bridge was built around 1912 and allowed the Southern Railroad to pass over the newly constructed P&N rail line, an electric railroad that ran from Charlotte to Mt. Holly in Gaston County. In the early 20th century the area to the west of the bride was a largely industrial and commercial in nature, with a foundry, a rail yard, and warehouses. In recent years many of these buildings have been converted to offices and retail uses. To the east of the bridge stood the Good Samaritan Hospital, which has been replaced by the stadium. Also to the east of the bridge, closer to the center of the city, were the freight and passenger stations for the P&N Railroad, which have also been demolished. Today the area to the east of the bridge contains several early twentieth century commercial buildings.

The P&N/SRR Bridge rests on concrete footings. Like all of the concrete work associated with the bridge, the impressions of the lumber forms, including the knots and grains of the wood, is evident in the surface of the material, which is typical for early 20th-century concrete work. Also typical for early concrete work is the large rough aggregate visible in the material. Tall concrete retaining walls separated the P&N roadbed from the bridge foundation. The retaining walls are well finished, parged smooth and topped with a substantial cap with moulded quarter-round edges. The bridge rests on six massive steel girders, approximately three feet in depth. Each girder is constructed of two metal channels, riveted together with metal plates. It appears that the bridge carried three sets of tracks. Each track was supported by two of the girders, which were connected to each other by "X braces formed by riveted steel channel. A concrete deck was poured over the metal work, and the impressions of the lumber forms are visible. Triangular braces made of riveted metal angle, extend from the sides of the bridge. The braces on the east side of the bridge support a metal walkway. Braces on the west side of the bridge supported a wooden plank walkway, now deteriorated. Faded lettering on the west side of the bridge spelled out "Southern Railroad" for the benefit of the P&N crews passing under the bridge.

Access to the rail bed is restricted. It appears that the bridge has not been used for many years and bushes and vines are now growing in the rail bed and hanging over the sides of the bridge. The original bridge is now literally dwarfed by a more recent SRR bridge, just to the west. The newer bridge is supported by two massive concrete trestles supporting a steel and concrete deck.