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CBQ - Illinois River Bridge


preparation to remove lift span 1980

La Salle library


BH Photo #223844


Railroad was first named Illinois Valley & Northern RR, later became CB&Q. Structure did not have a draw span so steamships could not go further upstream than La Salle. RR installed a Strobel Direct Lift Vertical Lift span in 1914 after much legal wrangling between RR, shipping interests, and US government. The Strobel lift span was removed and replaced with cable operated lift span in 1932. RR was abandoned in 1970's, bridge removed in summer 1980. Track bed at south abutment ran under the ICRR bridge which is still in place.


Lost Through truss bridge over Illinois River now removed Chicago, Burlington & Quincy
LaSalle, LaSalle County, Illinois
Built 1932, RR line abandoned 1970's, bridge removed summer 1980
- Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad (CBQ)
- Illinois Valley & Northern Railroad (IV&N)
Through truss
Approximate latitude, longitude
+41.32161, -89.08402   (decimal degrees)
41°19'18" N, 89°05'02" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
16/325580/4576554 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
La Salle
Inventory number
BH 51082 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • August 17, 2014: Updated by Gene Smania: found photos & info that it was Strobel vertical lift installed in 1914, not swing span
  • August 10, 2014: Updated by Luke: Edited info
  • August 3, 2013: Updated by Luke Harden: Added categories "Navigable waterway", "Illinois River", "Railroad", "Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad", "Illinois Valley & Northern Railroad"
  • January 25, 2012: Added by Gene Smania

Related Bridges 


  • Douglas Butler
  • Luke


CBQ - Illinois River Bridge
Posted August 17, 2014, by GS

Information from internet on Strobel Direct Lift Vertical Lift span

STROBEL--Movable Bridges, Forgotten Books, Movable Bridges pgs 168-169 from internet search

Figure 5L illustrates a method of balancing a vertical-lift draw span without cables, as designed by the Strobel Steel Construction Co., of Chicago. The principles are similar to those of the Hall bascule design. Referring first to Fig. 5L (a), a pair of counterweight trusses is mounted on each of the two towers. Each counterweight A is proportioned to balance one-half of the weight of the lift span, when in closed position. At the end opposite the counterweight the truss is articulated to the top chord at a panel point of the bridge truss at B. The trunnion C turns in a roller adapted to move along a track on top of the tower. As the draw span is lifted, the trunnion rolls back, permitting point B to move in a vertical line. Thus, the counterweight A and the pin B each move in an arc of a circle about the movable trunnion C, and an exact balance is maintained throughout the vertical movement of the lift span. When a new bridge is to be built, Fig. (a) shows the preferred arrangement. In some cases it becomes necessary to make an existing fixed span movable. Figure 5L (6) shows an adaptation of the principle which accomplishes this result. The counterweight trusses turn about fixed trunnions D. A roller encloses the pin at G. An auxiliary member EG is added to the upper chord of the span, with a horizontal track on its lower side along which the rollers G may travel. This permits the point G to rotate about Z) as a center, and at the same time the span can move vertically upward, and an exact balance is maintained.

The Daily Railway Age Gazette, March 18, 1914 (found a March 13 and March 20 edition in Forgotten Books but no March 18, 1914 edition)

Illinois River Bridge at La Salle? " The Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy Railroad bridge over the Illinois River at La Salle, 111., as originally built, consisted of five 148-ft. pin-connected truss spans. It is a single-track Pratt structure, each truss having six equal panels. The United States Government required that a movable span be provided with a clear headway of at least 40 ft. above high water level, when open. It was decided to make one of the fixed spans movable in the manner outlined in Fig. 5L (.") The maximum lift is 32 ft. Towers, having front vertical columns, were built at the channel ends of the (span?)

(plan diagram is from oil-electric.com website but it is the same as the Railway Age Gazette article refers to)

CB&Q Illinois River Bridge
Posted August 24, 2013, by Rick P (silverfox13_21 [at] yahoo [dot] com)


here is a great link with lots of pics and info on this bridge