2 votes

Camelback Bridge


Side view

Photo taken by Bill Burmaster

BH Photo #102424

Street Views 


Wooden Kingpost pony truss bridge over Constitution Trail (formerly Illinois Central Railroad) on Virginia Avenue in Normal
McLean County, Illinois
Open to two-lane traffic above and pedestrian traffic below
Built 1906, rehabilitated 2001
- Phoenix Bridge Co. of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania
- Illinois Central Railroad (IC; ICG (1972-1988))
Kingpost pony truss
Length of largest span: 29.8 ft.
Total length: 117.1 ft.
Deck width: 16.7 ft.
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on May 15, 1997
Also called
Illinois Central Railroad Bridge No. A797-14
Approximate latitude, longitude
+40.49827, -88.98340   (decimal degrees)
40°29'54" N, 88°59'00" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
16/331929/4484952 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Bloomington East
Average daily traffic (as of 2018)
Inventory numbers
IL 057-7821 (Illinois bridge number)
NRHP 97000383 (National Register of Historic Places reference number)
BH 15539 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of December 2018)
Overall condition: Fair
Superstructure condition rating: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Good (7 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 67.7 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • March 21, 2020: New photo from Art Suckewer
  • January 27, 2020: New photos from Steve Conro
  • December 31, 2018: New photo from Melissa Brand-Welch
  • September 27, 2016: New Street View added by Dana and Kay Klein
  • May 15, 2010: Updated by Robert Stephenson: Added builder and Alternate name
  • June 5, 2006: Posted photos from Bill Burmaster

Related Bridges 



Camelback Bridge
Posted March 21, 2020, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

If the trusses are decorative than i assume this is technically a stringer bridge.

Camelback Bridge
Posted March 21, 2020, by Art S. (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)

Apparently one of the kingpost trusses fell off:


NORMAL — Virginia Avenue near the Advocate BroMenn Medical Center in Normal is closed after a bridge truss fell from the historic Camelback Bridge Friday morning.

There were no injuries reported and it appeared a wooden piece fell from the bridge to the asphalt below. Virginia Avenue is closed between South Linden Street and Hillcrest Street.

Constitution Trail users should go around the bridge entirely until the bridge is deemed safe and the trail is reopened, fire department officials said.

The section of the bridge truss that collapsed is part of the original 1880s bridge structure that was salvaged when the bridge was rehabilitated in 2000. The structural integrity of the bridge does not appear to be affected, but it will remain closed until engineers perform an evaluation, officials added.

The bridge is on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

In 1906, a timber and metal bridge along what was then Sill Street, was built by the Illinois Central Railroad during a fast-paced expansion. It’s humped shape allowed steam engines to glide beneath without disrupting the barely two-car width traffic above.

It’s known as a camelback bridge, but it is actually a king post pony truss bridge and remains as the only one in operation in Illinois. The style refers to the timber triangle that holds the bridge's weight. Also conspicuous are supporting wrought iron columns from the Phoenix Iron Co., dating to the 1860s and likely recycled from another structure. It’s one of two bridges in the Land of Lincoln with such supports, also found on the Washington Monument.

"There are these king trusses on the side and they are the triangular pieces on both sides," said Normal Public Works Director Wayne Aldrich. "The old king trusses were left on the bridge as an historical remnant. The north trusses rotted away and some motion or wind or something caused that truss to fall along with a cross member that connects it to the truss on the south side."

It's not a structural issue, but could be a safety issue, he said.

"We will have a structural engineer check everything out and clear everything away to make it safe for both the trail and Virginia Avenue," he said. "I would anticipate we would be able to open it up next week after we get an all-clear."

A town survey once described the bridge as a “reference point and cultural center of gravity” that was “woven into the very sensibilities of the community.”

Normal bought the bridge and some right-of-way from the Illinois Central Gulf railroad for $89,000 in 1986. After that, there were years of squabbles over whether the structure — which now canopies the Constitution Trail — should be moved, saved or demolished. Supporters nominated it for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places, and its acceptance in 1997 helped assure it would stay just where it was, a working reminder of a slower time.