12th Street viaduct links downtown to Bottoms

Michael Bushnell
Northeast News

This real photo postcard published by the North American Postcard company of Kansas City, Mo., (Ottawa, Kan.) shows the “new” 12th Street viaduct under construction.

The viaduct stretches from Kersey Coates Drive down to the Central Industrial District. Writing about the March 18, 1915, opening of the viaduct, a story in the morning paper reads, “A municipal dream of years was realized this morning as the new 12th Street viaduct was opened to traffic.”

It was still dark when the first streetcar was routed over to the new structure. Motormen from the various car companies that served the city requested to be the first one to pilot a car across the span.

Officials, however, decided to route cars by schedule.

The first car eased out onto the span and began its downward trek toward the bottoms, gaining speed along the way.

The motorman expertly guided the streetcar along the rails and it quickly arrived at the corner of 12th and Liberty below.

The reinforced concrete bridge was constructed by the Graff Construction Company for approximately $650,000.

The upper deck measures 2,278 feet and the lower deck is roughly 1,884 feet in length.

At its highest point, the bridge measures 118 feet above the valley floor and measures roughly 30 feet wide.

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