Monday, August 17, 2015

Ottawa's Previous Illinois River Bridges

1885 Bridge, Oglesby Library collection from Bridge Hunter
(Bridge Hunter: 1885, 1910, 1932) This bullet list is an index for the rest of the posting. The date is when the method of crossing the river changed.
  • 1831: a 9'x45' ferry with two side oars and a steering oar started service.
  • 1855
  • 1877: bridge tolls originally were significantly cheaper than the ferry. But over the years the tolls went up. When people east of the Fox River decided to do business in Marseilles rather than pay the toll for the Fox River Bridge, various levels of government started discussing purchasing the bridge and making it toll free. The Illinois River bridge was also part of these discussions, and it was made toll free in 1877.
  • 1885
  • 1906: There was no road bridge because the 1885 bridge was condemned. A ferry was used except during the winter when the railroad bridge just downstream was used.
  • 1910
  • 1933 (Hilliard)
  • 1981 (Veterans Memorial Bridge)


1855


A toll bridge was built by the Illinois River Bridge Corp at a cost of $60,000. It was 920' long with a 30' clearance above the river. It was bought by the city, some townships, and the county in 1877 to remove the toll. It began to sink and was repaired in 1879. But in November 1883 it was declared unsafe.

The lack of photographs for this bridge reminds me that George Eastman did not invent flexible roll film until 1889. Thus an easily carried box camera was not available during the lifetime of this first bridge.


1885


The picture at the top of this posting is of this bridge. This bridge had a 35' clearance. It accommodated streetcars. It was condemned in 1906 because it "aged rapidly." That sounds more like a rust issue than a pier issue.


1910

Ottawa Library collection from Bridge Hunter

This bridge cost $102,000. It also accommodated streetcars. There was a plan drawn to put machinery on the big span to raise the short span to its left as a bascule lift span. But the picture shows this was not done. Probably because the lift span was just 120' wide. And I don't think the stationary truss could handle the stress of the lift machinery and counterweight. The bride was functionally sound when replaced as part of the 9-foot navigational channel project.
IDOT file from Bridge Hunter

1933


Photo by Gene Smania from Bridge Hunter,  public domain
This bridge cost $3 million. The bridge approachs on the north end implemented the use of using two one-way roads to route the traffic through Ottawa. A portal photo confirms that it was just two lanes. That is probably why it was replaced in 1981.
IDOT from Bridge Hunter
Photo by Gene Smania from Bridge Hunter,  public domain
When they dismantled this bridge after the 1981 bridge was completed, they saved a couple of fragments of the truss as art. Bridge Hunter has more photos of the dismantling.

Photo from Bridge Hunter
A description of the bridge by IDOT confirms my assumption that when they use long spans so that they need only two piers, they build the piers on bedrock.

A dotted line on the IDOT plans for the bridge indicates the bedrock profile.

North Part of West Elevation from Bridge Hunter

South Part of West Elevation from Bridge Hunter

Bridges Now and Then posted
The Hilliard Bridge, Ottawa, Illinois, c. 1950s. (No credit found)
Theron Stratton: Not even a stop sign or anything.
[Now with a four lane bridge, each road is one way and has its own two lanes.]

David Gulden posted
NATIONAL MARINER 1963
David Gulden: OTTAWA ILLINOIS



1 comment:

  1. This looks a lot like our Alexandra bridge here in Ottawa. It use to be a CP railway in the last 1800's.

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