What do you call this 1909 structure?

We came across this during our daytrip the other day. En route to another historic feature in southeast Indiana we were driving through New Point in Decatur County. Here came a short tunnel up ahead on S Co. Road 850 East.

No clearance sign, maybe 12 feet max?

Detail of side abutments

The 1909 date stamp has seen better days






The active Central Railroad Company of Indiana tracks run over the road using this structure. What is this type of structure called? Is it an underpass? Is it an overpass? Bridge? Tunnel? Viaduct? I’ve heard these called all of these, and have yet to find a definitive answer to the question. Any highway, railroad buffs or others in the know are encouraged to chime in…

16 thoughts on “What do you call this 1909 structure?

  1. I think it might also depend on the function. The use of train overpasses across roads was due to it being safer than grade crossing. The intention was for the train to pass over the road bed without obstructing traffic. For the vehicle on the road bed, it could be described as an underpass to enable them to pass under the train road bed. Whatever it is called, it is unique looking. There’s a similar one (small) in Vicksburg, MS and one near Natchez.


  2. This is a fascinating discussion when you think about it! What you call something might have a lot to do with your perspective. Is it going over, or are you going under? I think there is an old fable about 3 blindfolded people and an elephant that may relate to this. Very cool structure and thanks for sharing!


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