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Highways, Byways, And Bridge Photography
Valley City Eagle Bridges
Illinois River Highway Crossing
Valley City, IL

Valley City Eagle Bridges

Eastbound Span
• Structure ID: NBI 000075012222690
• Location: River Mile 60.2
• Bridge Length: 3,329 Feet, ??? Foot Longest Span
Westbound Span
• Structure ID: NBI 000075012322715
• Location: River Mile 60.3
• Bridge Length: 3,203 Feet, ??? Foot Longest Span
Statistics Common To Both Spans
• River Elevation: 420 Feet
• Highways: I-72, US-36
• Daily Traffic Count: 7500 (2005)
• Bridge Type: Post Tensioned Cast-In-Place Concrete Box Girder
• Bridge Width: 39 Feet, 2 Lanes Per Span
• Navigation Channel Width: 540 Feet
• Height Above Water: 72 Feet
• Date Built: 1988
The area between the Mississippi River and Illinois River in western Illinois is a remote and sparsely traveled area. There are few bridges over the river, and the land is half agriculture and half wilderness. This area gets so little government attention that it has been called "Forgotonia", and at one time, they tried to leave the United States by forming the Kingdom of Carson (referring to Carson County, one of the counties in this area).

To appease the locals and improve regional transportation, Illinois DOT is upgrading the main highways through this area. One project is to upgrade US-67, which runs north and south. A project that is now completed is the Central Illinois Expressway, now called I-72. The expressway runs from Decatur in the middle of Illinois west to Hannibal, Missouri. The highway required two major bridges. The bridge over the Mississippi River is called the Mark Twain Bridge, and it opened in 2000. The other is the Valley City Eagle Bridges, twin spans over the Illinois River. While people have heard of Hannibal, Valley City is less known. In fact, it is the smallest city in Illinois.

The two spans of the Valley City Eagle Bridges were built in 1988, but the highway itself was not fully finished until 1991. Prior to that time, US-36 was routed across the Florence Bridge a few miles south of the I-72 river crossing. The bridges are anchored to the flat river plain on the east side of the Illinois River, and land high in the bluffs on the west side of the river, gaining about 80 feet in altitude as part of the river crossing.

The bridges were built with three relatively new construction techniques. First, the main bridge spans were cast in place using a moving concrete form. Workers would cast one section of the bridge in place, then move the forms ahead a few feet and cast the next section. The trick here is to keep the two spans on either side of a bridge pier equally balanced until adjacent section connect to form a single span. This eliminates the need for extensive falsework. A second interesting technique is that once the bridge spans were completed, cables were run from end to end, and the cables were stretched very tight. This pulled the bridge ends towards the middle, making the bridge much stronger. Finally, the approach spans were cast in forms that were set up at ground level. Once the spans were ready, the were lifted by cables and strand jacks up to the top of the bridge piers.

Valley City Eagle Bridges
Valley City Eagle Bridges
Valley City Eagle Bridges
Valley City Eagle Bridges
Valley City Eagle Bridges
Valley City Eagle Bridges
Valley City Eagle Bridges
Valley City Eagle Bridges
Valley City Eagle Bridges

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