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John A. Weeks III
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Highways, Byways, And Bridge Photography
IL-251 Bridge
Illinois River Highway Crossing
Peru, IL

IL-251 Bridge

• Structure ID: NBI 000050007911396
• Location: River Mile 222.9
• River Elevation: 440 Feet
• Highway: IL-251
• Daily Traffic Count: 10,400 (2005)
• Bridge Type: Steel Truss Through Deck
• Bridge Length: 2,292 Feet, 477 Foot Longest Span
• Bridge Width: 30 Feet, 2 Lanes
• Navigation Channel Width: 400 Feet
• Height Above Water: 64 Feet
• Date Built: 1958
The original river crossing in the Peru and La Salle area was the Shippingsport Bridge, just up river from this structure. A wagon bridge was built prior to 1900. It was replaced with a multi-span steel truss bridge with a lift span in 1929. It carried traffic for US-51, a major north-south highway corridor.

A bypass for US-51 was built between the two cities of Peru and La Salle in 1958. That bypass took the name US-51, so the Shippingsport Bridge alignment was called Business-51. The new US-51 bypass crossed the Illinois Waterway with a large steel truss structure about a mile west of the Shippingsport Bridge. Using the new bridge, thru traffic could avoid the city streets of La Salle and avoid waiting in line when the lift span of the Shippingsport Bridge was open.

Interstate highway I-39 was extended south in 1987. It passed to the east of both Peru and La Salle, about a mile upstream of the Shippingsport Bridge. I-39 rejoined US-51 about 2 miles south of the Illinois River. When this new section of I-39 opened, the designation US-51 was moved to the new I-39 highway. The old US-51 bypass was turned back to the state of Illinois, which gave it the name IL-251. Business-51 was retired at the same time, so the highway that includes the Shippingsport Bridge was given the designation IL-351.

Major work was completed on the IL-251 bridge in 1992. The deck was removed and replaced, bearings were repaired, and the pins that held key beams together were replaced.


IL-251 Bridge
IL-251 Bridge
IL-251 Bridge
IL-251 Bridge

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