Saturday, April 22, 2017

BNSF/CB&Q Bridge over Illinois River at Beardstown, IL

(Bridge Hunter, John A. Weeks IIISatellite, Google Photo)

Weeks III

Lisa Ruble posted
Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway (BNSF) over the Illinois River at Beardstown and Schuyler County Illinois..
The Chicago, Burlington and Quincy and then the Burlington Northern was built in 1898. The swing portion of the bridge was added in 1901. In 1969, Burlington Northern planned to replace the bridge's swing span with a vertical lift span. Work on the planned five million dollar improvement started in September 1972. The job was completed on March 21st 1974 and the cost was 4.3 million dollars.
The structurally sound bridge was improved as result of the US Coast Guard finding it "an unreasonable hazard" and the swing span was considered "an unreasonable obstruction" for the constantly growing river traffic. The 1898 masonry piers of the bridge were also found to be sound.
*Because of the peculiar position of the bridge, just below an island point which separates the channel and Mascouten Bay, towboat pilots have a most difficult "approach problem", requiring turns particularly complicated in today's tows, which sometimes are as many as fifteen barges long. Pilots liken the job to "threading a needle with a piece of string". When the winds are high and the current is strong it becomes even more difficult.
- The Jacksonville Daily Journal 1972
[It is interesting how private companies can build something for less than the estimate.]
Jeremy Bug shared

Steven J. Brown posted
Burlington Northern coal train crossing a very wet (“from the standpoint of water”) Illinois River at Beardstown, Illinois - March 1985.

Jerry Harris posted two photos with the comment: "March or April of 2013. When I worked in Beardstown, IL during the flooding of the Illinois River. This is the draw bridge between Beardstown and Grimes siding."
Jerry Harris On loaded coal and taconite ore trains. When we would go over thru the bridge. It was make the water splash hitting the river. Crazy times.
Merle Hance i worked beardstown section 1974 it used to be a swing bridge before then.
Sumner Herrick Is the Beardstown Sub all CTC now?
Jerry Harris Sumner Herrick from what I was told was yes except one siding area towards Centralia.


Fred Monger posted
June 30, 2015 Illinois river at Beardstown 29.5
[Is "29.5" the river level? It does look rather high in the photo. But he didn't include any piers so it is hard to judge the river level. Looking at some Bridge Hunter photos, it appears the river is normally pretty close to the bottom of this bridge. John Weeks indicates the clearance is 20 feet.

The design of the lift towers look rather new. Neither Bridge Hunter nor John indicate when this bridge was built. Fortunately a comment in Bridge Hunter puts it at 1972. The comment also indicates that the previous swing bridge forced the tows to be broken up to pass just a few barges at a time through the narrow channel. The lift span is 300' wide.

That is a long ways for me to travel for a field trip, but I noticed on the satellite image that the US-67 bridge is still a truss bridge.]

[More photos by Fred: 1, 2, 3]

Tim Kiser posted
Beardstown, Illinois

Mike Smedly posted
[One of 32 photos taken during a flood. Some of the photos show that the flood wall was closed.]

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