1 vote

BNSF - I&M Canal Bridge


General View Of Bridge From West Side Of Desplaines River, Looking East.

Photo taken by Historic American Engineering Record

View photos at Library of Congress

BH Photo #117990

Street Views 


Interesting two track bridge is so severely skewed that it creates optical illusions, especially when a train is on the bridge. South end appears larger than north end, but it isn't. Excellent vantage point from across river.


Baltimore through truss bridge over I&M Canal on BNSF Railway in Joliet
Joliet, Will County, Illinois
Built 1935
- American Bridge Co. of New York
- Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway (ATSF)
- BNSF Railway (BNSF)
Heavily skewed Baltimore through truss
Span length: 200.0 ft.
Total length: 200.0 ft.
Listed as a contributing resource to the Illinois and Michigan Canal Historic District
Also called
ATSF I&M Canal Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+41.53926, -88.08217   (decimal degrees)
41°32'21" N, 88°04'56" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
16/409732/4599188 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Inventory number
BH 36913 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • January 13, 2022: Updated by Roger Deschner: Moved approach span to its own bridge
  • February 23, 2020: New photo from Roger Deschner
  • November 4, 2015: Updated by Matt Lohry: Almost a subdivided Warren...almost, but not quite. This is a Baltimore through truss.
  • August 14, 2015: Updated by John Marvig: Added information
  • July 4, 2014: New Street View added by Ralph Demars
  • October 8, 2013: Updated by Luke Harden: Added category "Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway"
  • May 26, 2012: New photos from Steve Conro
  • February 28, 2012: Updated by Steve Conro: Added categories "Skewed", "Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway", "I & M Canal"
  • May 16, 2010: Updated by Robert Stephenson: Status
  • February 21, 2010: Updated by Robert Stephenson: Added GPS coordinates
  • July 23, 2008: Added by Kim Harvey

Related Bridges 



BNSF - I&M Canal Bridge
Posted January 13, 2022, by Roger Deschner (rogerdeschner [at] gmail [dot] com)

Moved to a new bridge entry. See Related Bridges.

BNSF - I&M Canal Bridge
Posted January 13, 2022, by Luke

Looks like the side channel bridge is a separate structure with its own abutments, not an approach.

BNSF - I&M Canal Bridge
Posted February 26, 2020, by George A Oakley (Georgeoakley49 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

John,thanks for responding about the side canal bridge.I didn't know if it is of any importance to this site but it looks like an undiscovered bridge until I mentioned it.

BNSF - I&M Canal Bridge
Posted February 24, 2020, by John Marvig (marvigj27 [at] gmail [dot] com)


I absolutely would post that bridge here. Iíll look through my records and see if I can find more info on it.

BNSF - I&M Canal Bridge
Posted February 24, 2020, by George A Oakley (Georgeoakley49 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

Is the side canal bridge in pictures 12 and 13 on Bridgehunter or isn't it worth posting here?

BNSF - I&M Canal Bridge
Posted February 23, 2020, by Roger Deschner (rogerdeschner [at] gmail [dot] com)

What an interesting bridge! I love Baltimore trusses anyway, but this one is distinctive for being so heavily skewed. I saw it from a common vantage point, across the Des Plaines River just north of the Ruby Street Bridge. A train was crossing it, which intensified the optical illusion that the south portal was larger than the north portal. It isn't. The HAER photos (numbers 1,2,3 here) really show off the interesting geometry of this extreme skew.