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Highways, Byways, And Bridge Photography
Sergeant John F. Baker, Jr. Bridge
I-280 Mississippi River Crossing At Davenport
Davenport, Iowa

I-280 Bridge

• Structure ID: NBI 000000000600690 (IA), 000081010623060 (IL).
• Location: River Mile 478.3.
• River Elevation: 545 Feet.
• Highway: I-280.
• Daily Traffic Count: 22,600 (2003).
• Bridge Type: Steel Arch Suspended Deck.
• Length: 4,194 Feet Overall, 569 Foot Longest Span.
• Width: 82 Feet, 4 Lanes.
• Navigation Channel Width: 520 Feet.
• Height Above Water:: 62 Feet.
• Date Built: Opened October 25, 1973.
The I-280 bridge is a rather large tied steel arch. They call this style a tied arch because each arch has its ends tied together by a steel frame member that runs the length of the roadway under the arch. This connection between the ends of the arch keeps the ends of each arch from pushing out sideways and falling off of the main support pier. This allows a much smaller pier to be built since the pier only has to support vertical forces and not have to handle horizontal forces.

Some locals jokingly call this the McDonalds Arch Bridge because the two arches are painted yellow. As it turns out, there was a contest to determine the colors of the bridge. Blue and yellow was the people's choice, so they painted the arches yellow, and the crossmembers blue. The bridge was finally given an official name in 2008 when it was named after John F. Baker, Jr., a US Army Sergeant who won the Congressional Medal of Honor for his heroic actions in Operation Attleboro in the Vietnam conflict in September 1966.

The final four photos below were taken in the summer of 2007 while driving across the bridge. At that time, a project was underway to repaint the structure. In the photos, you can see that the downstream arch is painted blue rather than yellow. It appears that the bridge may end up with an all blue paint job, with the yellow arches being only a memory.


I-280 Bridge
I-280 Bridge
I-280 Bridge
I-280 Bridge
I-280 Bridge
I-280 Bridge

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