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Highways, Byways, And Bridge Photography
Joe Page Bridge
Illinois River Highway Crossing
Hardin, IL

Joe Page Bridge

• Structure ID: NBI 000031000107329
• Location: River Mile 21.6
• River Elevation: 420 Feet
• Highways: IL-16, IL-100
• Daily Traffic Count: 2,800 (2005)
• Bridge Type: Steel Truss W/Lift Span
• Bridge Length: 2,150 Feet, 308 Foot 9 Inch Longest Span
• Bridge Width: 22 Feet, 2 Lanes
• Navigation Channel Width: 300 Feet
• Height Above Water: 26 Feet
• Date Built: Dedicated July 23, 1931, Rebuilt 2004
The Joe Page Bridge is located in the small town of Hardin, Illinois. Hardin is located in the land between the two rivers, with the Illinois River on the east side of town and the Mississippi River a few miles to the west. Many sources state that this is the longest bridge in Illinois, and the lift span of 308 foot 9 inches is the longest lift span in the world. While there may be some category of bridge where it is (or was) the longest in the world, both the Arthur Kill and Cape Cod Canal bridges have longer lift spans at 558 feet and 544 feet long, respectively.

The bridge consists of a series of Pennsylvania through truss spans that reach from high ground on the west side of the river to the levee on the east side of the river. The trusses include 6 that are fixed in size, the larger lift span, and then a somewhat shorter fixed truss between the lift span and the western shore. It is rare to have a lift bridge for vehicle traffic since cars can climb slopes that a train would find impossible to climb. In the case of the Illinois River, the first two automobile bridges, the Joe Page Bridge and the Florence Bridge just upstream are both automobile lift bridges. In the case of the Joe Page Bridge, the bluffs are located so close to the west end of the bridge that there is no room to land a high bridge, so a low bridge with a lift span was the only option.

This 1931 era bridge was rehabilitated between March 2003 and December 2004. The most noticeable change is that the bridge was repainted to a very bright green color. One of the challenging parts of the construction was replacing the lift cables and pulleys. This required that the bridge remain in the down position for 23 days in August and September of 2003. Barge traffic continued to flow by using tow boats to hand barges off under the lowered lift span of the bridge.

The bridge is named after Joe Page (1845-1938) was a famous local resident. He served in the Union Army during the Civil War, was editor of the local newspaper, worked as an architect and engineer, served as mayor of Jerseyville, and was supervisor of the construction of the bridge that now carries his name.

Joe Page Bridge

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