History of the Pearl St Bridge
According to the Sycamore True Republican, July 19, 1949, The construction of the Pearl St Bridge in Kirkland, IL was under way by the Shappert Engineering Company of nearby Belvidere. The previous iron bridge was 50 years old, apparently deemed unsafe and condemned, it had been closed over a year prior. It was removed shortly before the new bridge construction began.
The news article went on to say that the bridge would cost $54,570.30 and the taxpayers of Franklin Township would pay half and all those of DeKalb County, IL would pay the other half.
Their is evidence on Plat Maps from Boone County, IL 1858 and DeKalb County, IL 1871 showing Pearl St and the Pearl Street Road as one continuous road from Kirkland to Belvidere going back to even before Kirkland existed as a Village. Their is little doubt that this road was well traveled by pioneers of the area probably early on by horseback, buckboard, possibly on foot and later by automobiles.
Kirkland began to be settled about 1875 and became a Village in 1882. It is likely the early travelers would had to have crossed the river without a bridge.
Pearl St Terminus
Pearl Street terminates in the north at Pleasant St in the City of Belvidere and works south through Flora Township in Boone County, then crosses into Franklin Township in DeKalb County through Kirkland and terminates at Base Line Rd just south of Kirkland. This is a total distance of approx 13.5 Miles. Note: South of IL 72, Pearl St is called 1st St between IL 72 and Hortense Dr in Kirkland and continues as Pearl from south of Hortense to Base Line Rd.
Other Information / Bridge Significance
The Pearl St Bridge is significant to the people of Kirkland, IL as it is one of two bridges allowing north and south passage over the south branch of the Kiswaukee River into and out of Kirkland. The Pearl St Bridge is on the east side of Kirkland and the Kirkland Rd / 6th St bridge is the west side.
The Kirkland Rd bridge collapsed in the spring of 1979 and a new bridge was built in the same location in 1980 but for a year, Kirkland was left with only the Pearl St Bridge for travel to the north. If such an event were to occur today to the Kirkland Rd or Pearl St bridge, the funds may not be available for such an immediate rebuild.
One could find many routes to go north to Belvidere but Pearl St which becomes Pearl Street Road once out of town, is the only continuous road from Kirkland to Belvidere. At about 11 miles from Main St in Kirkland to Bypass 20 at the south edge of Belvidere, this route is the shortest and most direct path.
IL Rt 72, an east west highway is the only State Rd that runs through Kirkland. Access to the north and south from Kirkland are left to township Roads or by working east or west on Rt 72 then turning north or south on township or county roads.
As demonstrated in these photos, Illinois has some of the worst bridge weight limit signs in the country. Weight limit signs should be easily visible and the weights should be in a large font so truckers (who often ignore them anyway) can even see the limits. Illinois should switch to the standard signs designated in the MUTCD: http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/htm/2009/part2/fig2b_29_longdesc.htm
This is an opinion on my part about the Pearl St Route from Kirkland to Belvidere and the importance of the bridges that allow travel north to Belvidere.
Their are 3 major grocery stores and 2 major discount dept stores on the south edge of Belvidere along with 3 major pharmacies. At 11 miles, this allows Kirkland residents their shortest distance for affordable necessities via a low traffic route.
From Kirkland, major shopping stores in Sycamore and DeKalb are further at 15-17 miles and Rockford 15-25 depending on which stores you choose. These are heavily urbanized areas and the traffic is much worse.