NS Wood River Bridge

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

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Name NS Wood River Bridge
Built By Illinois Terminal Railroad
Contractor American Bridge Company of New York
Currently Owned By Norfolk Southern Railway
Length 290 Feet Total, 170 Foot Spans
Width 1 Track
Height Above Ground 20 Feet(Estimated)
Superstructure Type Warren Through Truss and Deck Girder
Substructure Type Concrete
Date Built 1946
Traffic Count 2 Trains/Day (Estimated)
Current Status In Use
Significance Moderate Significance
Documentation Date June 2016
In 1859, the Illinois River Railroad built from Virginia, Illinois to Pekin, Illinois. The railroad was foreclosed upon and became the Peoria, Pekin and Jacksonville Railroad in 1864.

The company bought a line that was originally built by the Peoria and Hannibal Railroad which stretched from Pekin to Peoria, in 1868.
By 1869, the PP&J would be building southwards to Jacksonville. Also in 1869, the Springfield and Northwestern Railroad built a line from Springfield to Havana, where it would meet the PP&J.

Shortly after opening, the railroad would be leased to many companies.

The northern extension to Peoria would be sold again to the Peoria and Pekin Union Railway.
Since both lines connected to the Wabash Railroad at Springfield and Jacksonville; the Wabash took over the lines in 1881.

In 1888, the Wabash would default and the lines would be sold to the Chicago, Peoria & St. Louis Railway, a subsidiary of the Jacksonville, Louisville and St. Louis Railway.

The system broke up in 1893, and by 1900 the CP&StL acquired the bluff line, which had been built previously.

The Bluff Line began as the St. Louis, Jerseyville and Springfield Railroad to build a line from Springfield to Grafton.
By 1882, the railroad completed a line from the west side of Springfield to Elsah, along the Mississippi River, to Grafton.

The line would be reorganized in 1888 as the St. Louis, Alton & Springfield Railroad. In 1889, the company built a branch from Dow to Alton, and a connection from Lockhaven to Elsah.

By 1900, the Bluff Line merged into the Chicago, Peoria & St. Louis Railroad. The railroad operated until 1924, when the railroad system would be abandoned.

The first segment, from Granite City (East Saint Louis) to Grafton became a part of the Alton and Eastern Railroad, then a part of the Illinois Terminal Company in 1937, the Norfolk & Western Railway in 1982 and the Norfolk Southern Railway later that year.

Another company, the Chicago, Springfield & St. Louis Railway took over the line from Lockhaven to Springfield and later abandoned it.

The segment from Springfield to Pekin became a part of the Springfield, Havana and Peoria Railroad. It is now a part of the Illinois and Midland Railroad after going through the Chicago and Illinois Midland Railway from 1936 to 1966.

The final segment was bought by the Jacksonville and Havana Railroad, and was later abandoned.

This large through truss bridge was built in 1946 to replace an older girder bridge which had been destroyed in a flood.
The current bridge features a large Warren Through Truss span with riveted connections and 6 panels. It is approached by a single deck girder span on either side.
The structure also rests on concrete substructures. It is considerably newer than any other structure over the Wood River.

The author has ranked this bridge as being moderately significant due to the common design and newer age of the bridge.
The photo above is an overview. The author is working to confirm this 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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