1 vote

Braceville Bridge


Distant View To North

Photo taken by Historic American Engineering Record

View photos at Library of Congress

BH Photo #118005


Street View 


This was the first steel tied through arch built in Illinois. It was built for a new bypass routing of US 66 around Joliet. In 1957, US 66 was rerouted again, onto a new alignment to the west that would eventually become I-55, and this route was made IL 129, carrying only light local traffic. A 1994 inspection showed that the bridge had been allowed to deteriorate so badly that it was closed to traffic. After attempts to sell it failed, it was demolished in 2000.


Lost steel tied through arch bridge over Union Pacific Rr, former Alton Railroad on IL 129, former US 66, between Braceville and Gardner.
Braceville, Grundy County, Illinois
Removed but not replaced
Buiilt 1939, US 66 rerouted off it 1957, allowed to deteriorate, demolished 2000
- Joliet Bridge & Iron Co. of Joliet, Illinois
Steel tied through arch, had to be a long bridge due to huge skew in relation to the RR tracks it crossed.
Length of largest span: 252.5 ft.
Total length: 1,095.5 ft.
Deck width: 26.0 ft.
Skew angle
74 degrees
Also called
Gardner-Mazonia Bridge
Alton Railroad Viaduct
Alton Railroad Overhead Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+41.20758, -88.28395   (decimal degrees)
41°12'27" N, 88°17'02" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
16/392355/4562595 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Inventory numbers
IL 032-0062 (Illinois bridge number)
BH 36915 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • March 4, 2016: New photos from GS
  • December 15, 2012: Updated by Roger Deschner: Correct location and which highway it was on (IL 129, not IL 53), add Description.
  • January 28, 2012: New photo from Gene Smania
  • July 23, 2008: Added by Kim Harvey


  • Kim Harvey
  • HAER IL-141 - Braceville Bridge, Spanning Southern Pacific Railroad tracks at State Route 129 (Old Route 66), Braceville vicinity, Grundy County, IL
  • Roger Deschner - rogerdeschner [at] gmail [dot] com


Braceville Bridge
Posted February 13, 2012, by Gene Smania

Local newspaper article August 1995

Braceville Bridge
Posted February 1, 2012, by Gene Smania

Here are photos of the Illinois Rt 53 bridge over the railroad at the south edge of Gardner. They were taken after completion in 1929 by Art Kistler, an IDOT employee. This structure was replaced in 2000.

Braceville Bridge
Posted March 7, 2011, by Gene Smania

Two 1940 photos of structure taken by Art Kistler, IDOT.

Braceville Bridge
Posted February 11, 2010, by Bill Graber (foursecretary [at] aol [dot] com)

Your marker on the map is in the wrong place. This bridge was north of Gardner over a branch rail line that runs north. The marker you are showing is for a simple deck girder bridge over the main line railroad running from Chicago to St. Louis at the south edge of Gardner near where the exit comes off I-55 into Gardner. It was replaced a few years back and still exists today. The Braceville Bridge was demolished in the 80's. You used to be able to see it off in the distance east of the current I-55 highway.

Braceville Bridge
Posted February 11, 2010, by Bill Burmaster (wmbur [at] hotmail [dot] com)

The bridge in fact is north of Gardner, near Braceville. There was debate near the same period of time over two bridges in this area for reconstruction. One being this bridge, and one bridge at the point that is on the map in Gardner. The one in Gardner is a simple viaduct over the UP. When IDOT decided not to fix the Braceville bride IL 129 was pulled back to end at IL 113. Below on this page is some pictures I have from the site after the bridge was removed.


Braceville Bridge
Posted May 21, 2009, by Tim Hickernell (thickernell [at] gmail [dot] com)

The coordinates indeed are off a bit. The town the bridge is pinned at on the map is Gardner, not Braceville. The bridge was over the railroad tracks between Gardner and Braceville, at the Mazonia railroad junction. I used to see the bridge from I-55 when I was a kid and we'd drive up to Chicago. Later on, I used to go under the bridge on Amtrak trains, when Amtrak used to get rerouted from UP to BNSF tracks at Joliet, then used an old GMO and Santa Fe connector from Coal City to Mazonia. The main span was over the railroad, not the creek, but I think the approach spans did go over the creek, if I recall correctly. I've attached an old USGS areal picture of it I found some years ago. You can see the shadow cast by the bridge and the GMO/SF connector splitting off from the GMO (now UP) and heading north to Coal City. This was a grand bridge and a shame we have lost it.

From MS Streets & Trips, the approximate coordinates would be:

41.21013 N

88.28082 W

Braceville Bridge
Posted November 30, 2008, by Steve Nault (gar162 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

I believe the posted coordinates are on the wrong side of town. I remember this bridge further north at

+41.209947, -88.280839

411235.81N, 881651.02W