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Wells Viaduct

Built between 1915 and 1919 as part of a project to straighten Southern Railway’s line through northeastern Georgia, this structure is 1,313 feet in length and is supported by ten reinforced concrete piers with heights of up to 190 feet above the North Fork of the Broad River. The base of the double-tracked rail is more than 200 feet above the stream.

For cost-savings reasons, the tallest eight piers are hollow. These are oval on the inside, rectangular on the outside, and strengthened by interior diaphragms at intervals of 50 feet. At the top, the piers measure 30 by 34 feet. The wall thickness varies from 4 feet at the base to 3.5 feet at the top.

The first bridge of this height to employ hollow piers, it was named for William H. Wells, the chief engineer for the project.

The nearest pier in this photo is solid; the rectangular piers are hollow.

Wells Viaduct near Toccoa, Ga., under construction

The piers under construction. (From: Railway and Locomotive Engineering, December 1918, p. 383. Online at Internet Archive here.)

A 2007 photo of a train on the viaduct is at Flickr. Georgia's Railroad History & Heritage. © Steve Storey

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