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Highways, Byways, And Bridge Photography
Utica Bridge
Illinois River Highway Crossing
Utica, IL

Utica Bridge

• Structure ID: NBI 000050008811417
• Location: River Mile 229.6
• River Elevation: 440 Feet
• Highway: IL-178
• Daily Traffic Count: 3,600 (2005)
• Bridge Type: Steel Truss Through Deck
• Bridge Length: 1,158 Feet, 378 Foot Longest Span
• Bridge Width: 30 Feet, 2 Lanes
• Navigation Channel Width: 356 Feet
• Height Above Water: 63 Feet
• Date Built: 1962
This 1962 vintage bridge replaced an earlier swing bridge. The higher and wider truss bridge is much safer for river navigation than a narrow swing span. The main truss structure is 812 feet long, with a center span of 378 feet, which is flanked by two side spans of 217 feet each. The bridge is a bit narrow. It does not have room for shoulders, a walkway, and it is a bit low for some farm equipment to pass through the structure. At the same time, the bridge does not see enough traffic to replace at this this time.

While this bridge looks like a continuous style truss, it is actually a cantilever style truss. On each side of the bridge, the first span and 1/4 of the center span balance each other out. That is, if you removed the middle half of the main span, the two end sections would remain standing and be structurally sound. The middle half of the center span is then suspended by the outside sections. The outside sections count on being balanced properly to resist the force that wants them to tip towards the middle of the river and drop the center span into the water. This works as long as there is more weight on the outside of the main span than between the main span piers. The cantilever effect results in the center span having a flat top, where as a continuous truss would have the U-shape or catenary shape like an upside down arch.

The city of Utica lies a bit north of the bridge. It is served by I-80 and US-6. The main tourist attraction is the I&M Canal. Traffic crossing the bridge is either locals who live south of the bridge, or traffic to one of the jewels of Illinois, Starved Rock State Park. You enter the park just south of the bridge. The park features day use areas of swimming, boating, and picnics. It also has a lodge and a large campground. The basic park does not charge admission, but the overnight facilities do have a user fee. The Starved Rock Lock & Dam is located within the park grounds. On the opposite side of the river, one will find the Illinois Waterway Visitor Center, which has an upper level overlook to watch boat traffic lock through the dam.

Utica Bridge
Utica Bridge
Utica Bridge
Utica Bridge
Utica Bridge
Utica Bridge
Utica Bridge

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