4 votes

Fort Madison Bridge



Swing Span from Northwest

This bridge is a major river span and had, at the time of its construction, the longest and heaviest electrified swing span on the Mississippi River. The bridge superstructure was built by American Bridge Company, one of the largest bridge companies in American history.

Photo by Joe Elliott, Summer 1995, for HAER

View photos at Library of Congress

Street Views 


Toll double-decker through truss swing bridge over the Mississippi River on IA 2/IL 9/BNSF Railroad at Fort Madison
Fort Madison, Lee County, Iowa, and Hancock County, Illinois
Open to traffic
Built 1927
- American Bridge Co. of New York
- Union Bridge & Construction Co. of Kansas City, Missouri
- Amtrak (AMTK)
- BNSF Railway (BNSF)
- Norfolk Southern Railway (NS)
- Rail-to-road
- Union Pacific Railroad (UP)
Swing Baltimore through truss
Length of largest span: 525.3 ft.
Total length: 3,580.2 ft. (0.7 mi.)
Deck width: 21.0 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 14.5 ft.
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on August 27, 1999
Also called
Fort Madison Toll Bridge
BNSF Fort Madison Bridge
ATSF Fort Madison Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+40.62925, -91.29887   (decimal degrees)
40°37'45" N, 91°17'56" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/643869/4498992 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Fort Madison
Inventory numbers
NRHP 99001035 (National Register of Historic Places reference number)
IA 33280 (Iowa bridge number)
IL 034-9902 (Illinois bridge number)
BH 13818 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection (as of 10/2011)
Deck condition rating: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Superstructure condition rating: Poor (4 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Appraisal: Structurally deficient
Sufficiency rating: 36.6 (out of 100)
Average daily traffic (as of 2012)

Update Log 

  • October 17, 2015: New photos from Steve Conro
  • February 21, 2014: New photo from Jack Schmidt
  • November 18, 2013: New photos from Luke Harden
  • September 3, 2013: New photos from Jason Smith
  • April 4, 2012: Updated by Luke Harden: Added categories "Keokuk Junction Railway", "Norfolk Southern Railway", "Union Pacific Railroad"
  • March 23, 2012: Updated by Luke Harden: Added category "Amtrak"
  • August 12, 2010: New Street View added by Jason Smith
  • September 10, 2008: New photos from J.R. Manning
  • May 1, 2008: Updated by David B. Haun: Corrected Other Location

Related Bridges 


  • HAER IA-62 - Fort Madison Bridge
  • David B. Haun
  • J.R. Manning - thekitchenguy [at] sbcglobal [dot] net
  • Jason Smith - flensburg [dot] bridgehunter [dot] av [at] googlemail [dot] com
  • Douglas Butler
  • Luke
  • Jack Schmidt - jjturtle [at] earthlink [dot] net
  • Fort Madison Swing Bridge & Barge
  • Steve Conro - sconro [at] yahoo [dot] com


Fort Madison Bridge
Posted October 15, 2013, by Lyon Wonder (Lyon Wonder)

On the Illinois historical aerial photography website I found a late 1920s aerial view of the railroad/highway bridge at Fort Madison. I'd say this photo was taken not too long after the current bridge was completed. The original 1880s swing bridge is shown too, though the swing span and western approach have already been removed. This photo clearly shows that the current 1920s bridge was built upstream from the original 1880s bridge it replaced.

The photo is also upside down, with south up and north down.



Fort Madison Bridge
Posted September 3, 2007, by Robert Morawitz

Here are some views of the BNSF swing bridge at Fort Madison, Iowa showing most of the overall length, a shot looking from Iowa towards Illinois of the roadway and superstructure and a couple of shots in the open position. This is the largest double deck road/rail swing bridge in North America.