7 votes

Seneca Bridge


Side view

Photo taken by Bill Burmaster

BH Photo #102292


Street View 


Lost four-span through truss bridge over the Illinois River on IL 170 at Seneca
LaSalle County, Illinois
Replaced by nasty UCEB
Built 1932; rehabilitated 1986; destroyed 2010 (main span imploded at 7AM on 11/18/2010)
- Wisconsin Bridge & Iron Co. of Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Pennsylvania through truss
Length of largest span: 363.7 ft.
Total length: 1,509.4 ft.
Deck width: 23.0 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 15.0 ft.
Approximate latitude, longitude
+41.30167, -88.60944   (decimal degrees)
41°18'06" N, 88°36'34" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
16/365260/4573495 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Average daily traffic (as of 2009)
Inventory numbers
IL 050-0070 (Illinois bridge number)
BH 15419 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of March 2010)
Overall condition: Poor
Superstructure condition rating: Serious (3 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Poor (4 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 6 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • February 4, 2015: New photos from Gene Smania
  • January 13, 2015: New photos from Gene Smania
  • November 18, 2010: Updated by Matthew Lohry: Updated status: This bridge is now "lost", thanks to IDOT.
  • April 12, 2010: New Street View added by Nathan Holth
  • December 29, 2008: Updated by Kim Harvey
  • January 9, 2006: Posted photo from Bill Burmaster


Seneca Bridge
Posted March 16, 2011, by Chelsea the Car

Welcome back Anonymous! Please note the sarcasm in my owner's post.

Seneca Bridge
Posted March 16, 2011, by Robert Elder Berry

I doubt anyone said that, elder Elder. Mainly people wanted to be able to cross the river and bridges across were few and far between at the time.

Concrete structures currently are being replaced by concrete. Nothing new in the way of plastic or glass or other building materials. A bridge made from recycled pop bottles, interesting no?

Maybe the concrete one will be historic someday, but only if all the other ones are replaced with a new fangled design.

Seneca Bridge
Posted March 16, 2011, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Sarcasm on: Looking at the photographs of the bowstring bridge being replaced, I can't help but wonder if some local said in 1932 "look at that ugly monstrosity they are builiding - it looks like every other hideous Pennsylvania truss I crossed today" Sarcasm off.

Seneca Bridge
Posted March 15, 2011, by Matthew Lohry

Hahaha, I love that temporary construction platform in Pics 2 & 3, from the top of the bowstring to the pier of the newer bridge! OSHA would be having fits about that these days! HA!!

Seneca Bridge
Posted March 14, 2011, by Anthony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Nice pictures of the WIBCo tubular bowstring spans from the 1870's-1880's

Seneca Bridge
Posted March 14, 2011, by Gene Smania

1933 photos are by Art Kistler, IDOT employee. 1986 bridge plate should say "rebuilt 1986". Older bridge was a Phoenix truss.

Seneca Bridge
Posted November 19, 2010, by Gary Sprandel (jaidite [at] aol [dot] com)


I also noticed that the old gal made them work a bit harder to take her out.

I can see demolition if leaving the existing structure in place would leave a narrower nav channel or is structurally dangerous but that does not seem to be the case here so most likely it's one less possible liability problem for the state.

Seneca Bridge
Posted November 19, 2010, by Anthony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

HAHAHAHA.........found this link for a news report that was going to show the implosion live.......but they botched it and missed the whole thing!

A little humor to lighten the gloom of this situation!


Seneca Bridge
Posted November 19, 2010, by Anthony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Got ya covered Matthew!......besides, I've not given one to Illinois DOT yet.........

Seneca Bridge
Posted November 19, 2010, by Matthew Lohry

To Anthony Dillon: Hey, I think that one of your "awards" has been earned by IDOT on this one, if you catch my drift!

Seneca Bridge
Posted November 18, 2010, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

I almost vomit when I watch the demolition video. I will never understand why so many people actually ENJOY watching historic bridge demolitions. It is such senseless destruction.

But its worth noting that they couldn't even demolish the bridge right, half the explosives didn't even go off. Its obvious in the video that it doesn't drop correctly.

Seneca Bridge
Posted November 18, 2010, by Seneca Native (SenecaNative [at] hotmail [dot] com)

IDOT spent millions completely rehabbing this bridge less than 25 years ago and we were told at that time we'd easily get 50 more years out of it. I don't understand why they felt they had to build a new bridge since it didn't add any lanes, there was nothing wrong with the old one, and now the traffic pattern is screwed up because they moved the new bridge in the wrong direction from the old one.

Seneca Bridge
Posted November 18, 2010, by Matthew Lohry (matthewlohry [at] yahoo [dot] com)

The demolition of this historic bridge makes me sick to my stomach, and I don't live anywhere near here! It astounds me to think of the waste of money that is being generated by this process, when nobody would have to spend one thin dime to at least leave it in place, completely closed, for the public to view from the new ugly bridge, or from the water below. At least they would have something to look at to prevent them from falling asleep at the wheel driving across this new bland, booooring waste of material.

Seneca Bridge
Posted November 18, 2010, by Ron Johnson (mfpd24 [at] yahoo [dot] com)
Seneca Bridge
Posted November 17, 2010, by Jim Childs

Correction: The bridge will get the 1st of two implosions at 7AM 11/18/2010.

Seneca Bridge
Posted November 15, 2010, by Gary Sprandel (jaidite [at] aol [dot] com)

Get ready to gray scale the image and subdue the link as word through the grapevine is that the first implosions are to begin this Thursday (11 18 2010)so I'd say it's safe to chalk this one up in the "lost" category by the end of November.

Seneca Bridge
Posted October 29, 2010, by Ron Johnson (mfpd24 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

New bridge was dedicated yesterday and opened up to traffic today.


Seneca Bridge
Posted October 27, 2010, by Anthony (ascriven1 [at] juno [dot] com)

The city of Seneca and IDOT report that the UCEB will open to automobile traffic on 10-29-2010. I assume that demolition of the old bridge will soon follow. Better get out and see this one while you still can.

Seneca Bridge
Posted November 4, 2009, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

I could not find current news on the status of the bridge so I contacted ILDOT and they report this bridge will be demolished in Fall of 2010. So there is still a little more time to visit this bridge.

Seneca Bridge
Posted December 27, 2008, by Ron (mfpd24 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

A new bridge is currently being constructed alongside to the east as of 12/08