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Victory Bridge

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Circa 1932

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The Alumni quarterly and fortnightly notes, Volumes 5-7 (1919)

Illinois Laurels All-Illinois War Memorial

One of the first large municipal war memorials in the country is the new Victory bridge over the Vermilion river at Danville, and its construction is in the hands of Illinois men. Lorado Taft, '79, designed the memorial plaza at the north approach and R. A. Skoglund, '20, is in charge of the landscape work. The contractor for the bridge is O. K. Yeager, '11, and Harlan H. Edwards, '17, city engineer of Danville, is in charge of the entire project. The bridge, which will cost $400,000, makes a handsome northern terminus for the Danville St. Louis highway. It is a six span reinforced concrete arch highway viaduct, 75 feet above the river, the longest span being 195 feet. Three short approach spans are at each end. There is a 30 foot roadway and two walks.

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Engineering news-record, Volume 84 (1920)

Construction of Bridge

Danville, ILL.

Sealed bids will be received by the City Council of Danville, Illinois, at the clerk's office up to 7 p.m., May 24, 1920, for the construction of a bridge over the Vermilion River. The work will be let under one contract. The bridge will be of reinforced concrete and will consist of six arch spans varying in length from about 108 feet to about 196 feet, and seven approach girder spans each about 31 feet long, the entire structure being about 1,038 feet long between abutments. The bridge provides for a 30-foot roadway and two 7-foot clear sidewalks. Pavement and approach embankments are not included in contract. Approximately 300 tons of reinforcing and miscellaneous metal, and 7,000 cubic yards of concrete will be required. Bids shall be accompanied by a certified check made payable to the order of the City Council of Danville. Illinois, for Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000), to be forfeited as liquidated damages in case the bidder who is awarded the contract fails to execute the contract and give a satisfactory bond for fifty per cent of the contract price within twenty (20) days after the award. Contract will be awarded to the lowest responsible and competent bidder, but the Council reserves the right to reject any and all bids and to waive informalities.

Plans and specifications are now on tile in the office of Harlan H. Edwards. City Engineer, Danville, Illinois, and in the offices of Harrington, Howard and Ash, Consulting Engineers. Kansas City. Mo. Copies of the plans and specifications may be secured from the Consulting Engineers by depositing $15. When such plans and specifications are returned $10 will be refunded.

By order of the City Council

L. S. FRANKENBERGER, City Clerk.

A MOVE TO MOVE THE MONUMENT 

Written by Mike Roegner

By September of 1921 all the spans except the river span had been poured, and work was beginning on pouring the floor slab on the fifth span.
The big event for the summer of 1921 was the August completion and dedication of the Dixie Highway. In Danville, the original route of the Dixie Highway was down Vermilion Street to what was then called Redden Square (the intersection of Vermilion and Main Street) and then east on Main to the Indiana state line. Several veterans from the local American Legion post wanted the city council to consider placing the Victory statue in Redden Square, rather than at the north end of the Victory bridge as originally planned. They argued that many people would be traveling the Dixie Highway and more people would see the monument if it were in the square, whereas comparatively few people traveled over the Gilbert St. bridge except those people living in South Danville.
Opponents argued that the people had voted for a memorial bridge and they expected the monument to be where they voted for it to be. They also argued that the Dixie Highway was not paved completely to the state line, and the road south of Danville was paved to Paris, IL, and more people would eventually use that route.
As it turned out, not moving the statue was the best move. By the 1930ís businessmen downtown asked that the Dixie highway be routed away from the downtown area because traffic was getting too heavy. The Dixie was routed over to Gilbert Street south of Fairchild Street, directly toward the statue. By the 1950ís the statue had become so visible as to be considered "in the way". On November 9, 1955 the statue (called "Miss Victory" by the press) was dismantled by McCalman Construction Company and moved to a triangular island on the west side of Gilbert, where it stands today. This was done after consultation with all local veterans groups and city and state officials. The move was also part of the preparations for the building of the 4-lane replacement Memorial bridge.

Brief history

Written by Jacob P. Bernard

This bridge was built as a WWI memorial following a statue being erected at the corner of Main and Gilbert Street near the north approach as seen in picture #3. It was 1,037 feet long and 75 feet tall from the river. By the late 1930's and early 40's, the heavy traffic from the Dixie Highway on Gilbert Street and the bridge was starting to become a problem. The bridge had a 15 ton weight limit, but was carrying loads of 35-40 tons. It was finally replaced in 1957 with the modern "Memorial Bridge".

Facts 

Overview
Lost concrete arch bridge over Vermilion River on Gilbert Street in Danville
Location
Danville, Vermilion County, Illinois
Status
Replaced by new bridge
History
Built 1921-22, replaced in 1957
Builders
- Harlan H. Edwards (City engineer - project engineer)
- Harrington, Howard & Ash of Kansas City, Kansas & New York, New York (Design engineers)
- Yeager & Sons (Contractor - O.K. Yeager principal)
Design
Open-spandrel concrete arch
Dimensions
Length of largest span: 195.0 ft.
Total length: 1,037.0 ft.
Deck width: 44.0 ft.
Also called
Victory Memorial Bridge
Memorial Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+40.12207, -87.63600   (decimal degrees)
40°07'19" N, 87°38'10" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
16/445808/4441499 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Danville SW
Inventory number
BH 47285 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • June 30, 2015: New photo from Jacob P. Bernard
  • November 16, 2013: New photos from Jacob P. Bernard
  • August 2, 2013: New photos from Jacob P. Bernard
  • August 19, 2012: New photo from Jacob P. Bernard
  • August 6, 2012: New photo from Jacob P. Bernard
  • July 7, 2012: Essay added by Jacob P. Bernard
  • February 11, 2011: New photo from Mike Roegner
  • February 6, 2011: Updated by Mike Roegner: Modified contractor name, added design engineers
  • January 25, 2011: Updated by Mike Roegner: Added builders
  • December 28, 2010: New photo from Mike Roegner
  • December 12, 2010: Added by Jacob P. Bernard

Related Bridges 

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Comments 

Victory Bridge
Posted January 25, 2011, by Mike Roegner (roegner [at] soltec [dot] net)

The Victory Bridge was structurally sound when it was replaced. It just didn't have the capacity to handle the increased traffic load, especially after the College Street bridge was closed, eliminating a river crossing to the south.

Victory Bridge
Posted December 29, 2010, by Anthony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

I'm not sure about this bridge, but from what I have seen and read concerning the Mill Street Bridge leads me to believe it was very poorly constructed.

Victory Bridge
Posted December 29, 2010, by Spanfan (susorcar [at] yahoo [dot] com)

It's funny-here in Minneapolis we have a number of concrete arch bridges that were built in the early 20th century that are still intact & doing well, despite the increased traffic & weight they're asked to bear. Ironically (no pun intended), it's the steel bridges that are giving us grief!

Victory Bridge
Posted December 29, 2010, by Jacob P. Bernard (jacob_bernard [at] yahoo [dot] com)

Maybe, but I don't know. If I had to guess, I would think it was the traffic that caused the bridge to have structural issues. The volume of traffic on both the Mill St. Bridge and Victory Bridge increased through the years so the bridges probably slowly started deteriorating.

Victory Bridge
Posted December 29, 2010, by Spanfan (susorcar [at] yahoo [dot] com)

Seems like the bridges in Danville didn't last too long. The Mill St. bridge was falling apart 30 yrs after it was built, this bridge was having problems within 20 yrs..... You'd think concrete bridges would last longer than that. What was the problem-too much sand in the concrete?