2 votes

MacArthur Bridge


Overall View Of Bridge And Mississippi River, From East River-Bank. View To Northwest

Photo by Clayton B. Fraser, October 1987, for HAER

View photos at Library of Congress

BH Photo #122539



Lost Bridge over Mississippi River on US 34 in Burlington
Burlington, Des Moines County, Iowa, and Henderson County, Illinois
Replaced by new Great River Bridge
Built 1916-17; Replaced 1994
- Green Construction Co. of Green Bay, Wisconsin
- Wisconsin Bridge & Iron Co. of Milwaukee, Wisconsin
"After decades of agitating by the citizens of Burlington, local businessman J.A. MacArthur formed the Citizens' Bridge Company in 1915 and erected this bridge, using an innovative financing plan. The structure was taken over by the City of Burlington in 1923 and has functioned as a toll bridge ever since. The MacArthur Bridge is historically significant as a regionally important crossing of the Mississippi River: the source of millions of dollars of revenue. It is technologically significant as the oldest cantilever truss and the oldest highway-only bridge remaining over the Mississippi.

"As delineated by Wisconsin Bridge and Iron, the west approach to the Citizens' Bridge began at High Street in Burlington...were eight plate girder spans, from 30 to 66 feet in length, supported by steel bents. A 140' Pratt deck truss began the bridge proper. The outer end of this span was carried by Pier No. 2, which also supportes the 260' west anchor arm of the cantilevered span. The main channel span was composed of two 132-foot cantilever arms, carrying a 216' suspended span. Beyond the east anchor arm was a seried of deck truss approach spans, ranging in length from 175' to 120'. These were joined by another set of plate girders that extended to the Illinois shore.

Clayton B. Fraser
Principal, FRASERdesign
Loveland, Colorado 80637
June 1988


Length of largest span: 480.0 ft.
Total length: 3,168.0 ft. (0.6 mi.)
Deck width: 24.0 ft.
Also called
Citizens' Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+40.81229, -91.09522   (decimal degrees)
40°48'44" N, 91°05'43" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/660652/4519665 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Inventory number
BH 37318 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • June 29, 2020: New photo from Geoff Hubbs
  • June 29, 2020: Updated by Nathan Holth: Correct main span to include the traditional measurement between piers (cantilever arms and suspended span)
  • August 26, 2008: Added by J.R. Manning

Related Bridges 


  • J.R. Manning - thekitchenguy [at] sbcglobal [dot] net
  • HAER IA-21 - MacArthur Bridge
  • Nathan Holth
  • Geoff Hubbs


MacArthur Bridge
Posted December 5, 2016, by Z. T. Noble (ztnoble [at] gmail [dot] com)

Going through some of my father's belongings today, I found a receipt for paying $0.25 toll to cross the MacArthur Bridge, Burlington, Iowa, on Aug. 10, 1940. Googling to find out more info on the bridge, I found this web site. Thanks for filling me in.

MacArthur Bridge
Posted May 15, 2011, by Jacquelin Smith (smithja [at] mchsi [dot] com)

My grandfather, C. F. Womeldorf, was the resident engineer on the Mac Arthur Bridge. I have many original photographs he took of its construction, and I am in search of any additional information I can find about the bridge construction and his role with the bridge. I recall a newspaper photograph of a return visit he made to a commemorative event for the bridge. Is a copy of this available?

MacArthur Bridge
Posted February 5, 2010, by Megan Gist (mgrayce14 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Again, I have to thank Bridgehunter! Especially the facts about this bridge. My Uncle (who is now over 80 years old and my grandfather -- born in 1898) helped put the lights on the this bridge way back in the day. Secondarily, my great grandfather and my grandfather were a part of history and helped BUILD this bridge when it first went up in 1917. I have lost pictures of this bridge and their doings on it (construction photos) and this entry brings back alot of history (and great memories) for me as I lived in a nearby town. Thank you from the bottom of my heart... I really appreciate you.

MacArthur Bridge
Posted October 8, 2008, by gpence61 (glenn [dot] pence [at] gmail [dot] com)

Does anyone have any information about the demolition of the MacArthur Bridge? If my memory is correct, the Great River Bridge (which replaced it) as opened in 1993, but I don't know when the Mighty Mac was demolished. Any further info would be appreciated..