Abandoned Wood River Bridge (South)

Abandoned Pratt Through Truss Bridge over Wood River
East Alton, Madison County, Illinois

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Name Abandoned Wood River Bridge (South)
Built By Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis Railway
Contractor Unknown
Currently Owned By Unknown Private Owner
Length 178 Feet Total, 125 Foot Main Span
Width 1 Track
Height Above Ground 15 Feet (Estimated)
Superstructure Type Pratt Through Truss and Through Girder
Substructure Type Stone Masonry and Concrete
Date Built 1902
Traffic Count 0 Trains/Day (Bridge is Abandoned)
Current Status Abandoned
Significance Moderate Significance
Documentation Date June 2016
In 1856, the Terra Haute and Alton Railroad constructed a line from Terra Haute, Indiana to Alton, Illinois. This new line would stretch for 174 miles across Illinois.
At the same time, the Belleville and Illinoistown Railroad built a 20 mile spur from East St. Louis, Illinois to East Alton, where it would meet up with the other line.

Both these railroads would become a part of the Terre Haute, Alton and St. Louis Railroad in 1856. This new line was similarly followed by competitors, yet provided a meaningful connection between the two cities.
By 1862, the railroad joined the St. Louis, Alton and Terre Haute Railroad, which had several other lines throughout the area.

With the StLA&TH slipping, the Cairo, Vincenes and Chicago Railway purchased the segments from Terra Haute to Alton and East Saint Louis in 1890.
The CV&C was leased to the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & Saint Louis Railway the same year. The CCC&StL was commonly known as the Big Four.

The Big Four operated numerous lines throughout Indiana and Ohio. They would be purchased by the New York Central in 1906, but continued to operate separately.

In 1913, the Big Four finally outright purchased the CV&C. The line would be operated as the Big Four name, until 1930. At this point, the New York Central fully engulfed the Big Four.

The New York Central was a very successful railroad, up until a merger with rival Pennsylvania Railroad in 1968. The railroad quickly failed, and was in bankruptcy in 1970. 6 years later, Conrail would be created to pick up the operations of numerous failed mergers.

This railroad did not survive however. The entire section between East Alton and Terra Haute would be abandoned in the 1970s.

Today, the only remaining segment is a short spur that is operated by Kansas City Southern in East Alton, as well as tracks leading into East Saint Louis.

This unique little gem sits alongside IL-3 in East Alton. Long abandoned, it currently carries a pipeline.
This bridge was built in 1902 to replace a Big Four bridge that was destroyed by flooding. It contains a simple design, with a Pratt Through Truss approached by a Through Girder span.
The main span is a typical Pratt Through truss. It contains 6 panels, with pinned connections. It is a very lightweight bridge for the type of traffic it was seeing.
The substructures were built of stone and concrete. The pier is built of concrete, while the west abutment is built of stone.
The bridge is in remarkably good condition for the time it has been abandoned. It is likely being maintained by a private organization, likely the owner of the pipeline.

This bridge has been rated by the author as being moderately significant, because it is a good late example of a pin connected Pratt Through Truss. In addition, it contains a high amount of historic integrity.
The photo above is an overview. The author is researching further to confirm the build date.


Source Type


Build Date Flooding of previous bridge
Railroad Line History Source ICC Valuation Information, Compiled by Richard S. Steele

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