2 votes

CN - Cairo Flood Gate Tunnel


South portal of the gate

Photo taken by Nathan Morton in February 2007


BH Photo #127313

Street Views 


Flood gate and tunnel on US 51 under CN RR
Cairo, Alexander County, Illinois
Open to rail traffic above and highway traffic below
Arch built 1903; Floodgate added 1914
- Stupp Brothers Bridge & Iron Co. of St. Louis, Missouri (Floodgate)
- Cairo Electric & Traction Co.
- Canadian National Railway (CN)
- Illinois Central Railroad (IC; ICG (1972-1988))
- Streetcar
Tunnel completed in 1903, while the gate was finished in 1914. The gate itself weighs 80 tons, is 60 ft. wide, 24 ft. high and 5 ft. thick. The counterweights used to raise and lower the gate weigh almost as much as the gate itself, so that it will only require the effort of 2 men at each windless, one windless on each side of the gate, to raise the gate when it has been lowered. The cables used in the "crabs" in raising and lowering the gate are about 2 inches in thickness.
Source: http://www.michaelminn.net/america/Cairo_Gate/
Approximate latitude, longitude
+37.02135, -89.18554   (decimal degrees)
37°01'17" N, 89°11'08" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
16/305580/4099474 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Inventory number
BH 38036 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • February 15, 2022: New photos from Bambi Sharkoman
  • September 6, 2021: New photos from Patrick Gurwell
  • March 11, 2021: New photos from James McCray
  • April 13, 2020: New photo from Geoff Hubbs
  • December 2, 2018: Updated by Luke: Corrected build date
  • December 2, 2018: New Street View added by Dana and Kay Klein
  • April 1, 2014: New photos from Nathan Holth
  • October 8, 2011: New photos from Ben Tate
  • February 16, 2010: Updated by David Backlin: Added GPS Coordinates
  • November 7, 2008: Added by Nathan Morton



CN - Cairo Flood Gate
Posted December 2, 2018, by Dana and Kay Klein

Thanks! Know the tunnel thing got heated, NOT my intent just trying to learn and observe what locals call tunnel. Far from consistent region to region that's for sure

CN - Cairo Flood Gate
Posted December 2, 2018, by Luke

It's designed as part of a railroad grade separation as an approach to the river bridge, so it's more of an overpass.

However, locals call it a tunnel/subway, so it's one in name, at least.

CN - Cairo Flood Gate
Posted December 2, 2018, by Dana and Kay Klein

Almost hate to ask but why is or is not this a tunnel?

Cairo Flood Gate
Posted November 29, 2012, by Arthur Thistlewood (at383 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

My understanding is that wheels, cables and counterweights have not moved in so many years they probably would not operate any longer. I was born in Cairo in 1930, have photos of the gate from the North side. It would be entertaining to see the wheels and counterweights again. Almost no one from before WW II is still alive. Does anyone know what became of the enormous ship's wheel that hung over the Mark Twain Restaurant at 10th & Washington sixty years ago? Is "The Hewer" sculpture still standing across from the Catholic Church?

All the sections of the Ohio River railroad bridge were replaced sometime after the 1940s.