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John A. Weeks III
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Highways, Byways, And Bridge Photography
Bob Michel Bridge
Illinois River Highway Crossing
Peoria, IL

Bob Michel Bridge

• Structure ID: NBI 000090012230539
• Location: River Mile 162.2
• River Elevation: 440 Feet
• Highway: IL-40
• Daily Traffic Count: 18,600 (2003)
• Bridge Type: Steel Girder
• Bridge Length: 2,365 Feet, 360 Foot Longest Span
• Bridge Width: 62 Feet, 4 Lanes
• Navigation Channel Width: 305 Feet
• Height Above Water: 63 Feet
• Date Built: 1993
The Bob Michel bridge was built to serve an industrial area across the river from downtown Peoria. Much of the industrial area has since been demolished and cleaned up. A large retail and entertainment area has been built in place of the old factories. The road though this area was once called Industrial Spur. That name has been retired in favor of Riverfront Drive, in recognition of one of the areas first major attempts to reconnect to the river.

This bridge replaces the 1913 era Franklin Street Bridge. That bridge was a narrow structure with a bascule style drawbridge section. It was narrow and difficult for both highway and river traffic. US Senate candidate Mike Psak lambasted the spending on the new bridge when the dedication ceremony was delayed for two days when it was discovered that the highway signs read "Robert Michel Bridge" rather than "Bob Michel Bridge". Fixing the signs cost nearly $75,000.

The bridge is named after Peoria native Congressman Robert H. Michel, who held office from 1956 to 1995. His service included holding the office of Minority Whip and Minority Leader. Michel is a WWII hero having been awarded four battle stars, two Bronze Stars, and a Purple Heart. The latter was awarded after Michel was hit by machine gun fire.

Bob Michel Bridge
Bob Michel Bridge
Bob Michel Bridge
Bob Michel Bridge
Bob Michel Bridge
Bob Michel Bridge

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Authored by John A. Weeks III, Copyright © 1996—2016, all rights reserved.
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