2 votes

Romeo Road Bridge



Photo taken 1988 by Martin Stupich for the Historic American Engineering Record

BH Photo #102657


Street Views 


Of the original fifteen bridges built across the Sanitary and Ship Canal, only seven survive; the Romeo Road Bridge is the oldest of the highway swing spans constructed by the Sanitary District of Chicago.

-- Historic American Engineering Record


Relocated through truss swing bridge over marsh on Centennial Trail.
Will County, Illinois
Open to Pedestrians
Built 1899 on romeo road across Chicago S&S Canal; closed to traffic 1992; relocated in 1998 to neighboring trail.
Swing Warren through truss
Length of largest span: 205.3 ft.
Total length: 305.7 ft.
Deck width: 18.0 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 14.0 ft.
Approximate latitude, longitude
+41.64241, -88.06335   (decimal degrees)
41°38'33" N, 88°03'48" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
16/411443/4610620 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Inventory numbers
IL 099-9902 (Illinois bridge number)
BH 15753 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • May 9, 2020: New photo from Geoff Hubbs
  • February 23, 2020: New photos from Roger Deschner
  • December 10, 2015: New Street View added by Douglas Butler
  • October 18, 2011: New Street View added by James McCray
  • October 17, 2011: Updated by J.P.: bridge is not lost, but has been placed on trail about 200 yards from original location.
  • April 2, 2005: Posted new photos


  • J.P. - wildcatjon2000 [at] gmail [dot] com
  • James McCray - jamesinslocomb [at] yahoo [dot] com
  • Historicbridges.org - by Nathan Holth
  • Douglas Butler
  • HAER IL-41 - Romeo Road, Sanitary & Ship Canal Bridge, Spanning Sanitary & Ship Canal, Romeoville, Will County, IL
  • Roger Deschner - rogerdeschner [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Geoff Hubbs


Romeo Road Bridge
Posted April 26, 2013, by Eric R. (ejr_bronson [at] yahoo [dot] com)

I wish I had taken some photos of this bridge when it was in it's last months of use. I had just moved to the area in 1991 and found this bridge and the infamous hairpin curve on the other side of the river while exploring the area one Friday evening that Summer. I swear it still had a yellow stop sign at the curve, and those were phased out in the early '50's I think... a real time-warp kind of place.

When thought of as a late 19th century, pre-auto era installation (1899), the grade crossing of the railroad and then turning parallel to the canal to rise in altitude makes more sense, because that thing wasn't built for anything longer than a horse drawn wagon. I'll bet even horse drawn wagons had a helluva time meeting at that curve! I wonder if a 1958 Cadillac could have made the corner even without oncoming traffic! See the www.historicaerials.com site for the aerial view from 1946 in particular. It is an especially clear overhead photo that shows the way it used to be.

Romeo Road Bridge
Posted November 3, 2007, by Anonymous

More pictures of the Romeo Road bridge. Also known as 135th street bridge, which is relocated immediately adjacent to it's old location across the canal. Now the 100 year old swing bridge is preserved on a nature path parallel to and very near the canal, in the shadow of it's modern replacement bridge. It is a beautiful location and they did a great job preserving this fine example of swing bridges that used to cross the canal. The last two pictures are of the end of the bridge just where it connects to the roadway. I think it is what used to be the centering and locking device. I was totally facinated by these swing bridges when I was a kid....and now to see it so up close is still thrilling this many years later. Back then, it was "stay away....too dangerous". Now, anyone can check it out.

Romeo Road Bridge
Posted November 3, 2007, by Anonymous

Recently visited this bridge, now on the Romeoville side of the canal, about 30 miles SW of Chicago Il. Here are some of the pictures.

Romeo Road Bridge
Posted June 10, 2006, by Steve Forbes (sandlforbes [at] yahoo [dot] com)

I remember all bridges and butterfly mentioned. My grandfather worked at Lemont Harbor and Fleeting. I used to go on the boat with him at times to haul barges up and down the canal. If I'm not mistaken the 9th St. Bridge met its dimise early one foggy winter morning when it was struck by a barge. Also not mentioned was a bridge just like the Romeo Bridge at Lemont. For some reason it never swung in the early 70's. They did something to disable the bridge from swinging.

Romeo Road Bridge
Posted February 21, 2006, by Jack (ibroned [at] aol [dot] com)

I grew up in Lockport just down stream from Romeoville and (actually that is a misnomer because the canal forms a 35 mile long pool...which is still water...between the Lockport lock and the lock at lake Michigan, north-east of there) I crossed that bridge many times. It doesn't show in the pictures but there is a hair-pin turn just before the bridge. In fact, the picture is taken from the approach to the bridge which is kind of an inclined S-turn ramp perpendicular to the bridge and the road. I suppose they did that to give more clearance on the canal for passing boats....also to avoid having to build a separate bridge over the railroad tracks also adjacent to the canal just before the ramp to the bridge.

There used to be a similar bridge a few miles south in Lockport at 9th street and another one at 16th street. There are photos of the 16th street bridge before it was removed but I am surprised that there aren't any photos of the 9th street bridge since it was there for around 70 years. If anyone knows how to find any pictures of the 9th street swing bridge that used to cross the canal there in Lockport, that would be great.

Also, any information on the removal of the Butterfly Dam that was just north of the 9th street swing bridge would be appreciated. It was suspended from a railroad bridge type heavy-duty structure that was actually mounted parallel along the centerline of the canal right out in the middle of the channel. It was a massive emergency shut-off device for the canal. I wonder why they removed it? I was looking at a photo of the Lockport locks with the upper gates open and it seems that if a canal pusher-boat ever went out of control into the open lock chamber, that it could punch through the lower gates and unleash the entire 35 mile long contents of the "Lockport pool" into downtown Joliet and central Illinois. Why would they take a chance on that happening...no matter how remote? It could happen too. In the same set of pictures there is one of a pusher boat that got away from them somehow and ended up against the abutments of the spillway gates of the Marseilles dam. Water pouring through every door and window of it....but it still didn't sink!

Romeo Road Bridge
Posted December 26, 2005, by Jim Goebel (jimgoebel3 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

This bridge is now part of a hiking trail on the western bank of the Des Plaines river.