Willow Island Rail Bridge

Through Truss Bridge over East Channel of Mississippi River
East Clinton, Whiteside County, Illinois

Click the Photo Above to See All Photos of This Bridge!
Name Willow Island Rail Bridge
Built By Chicago & North Western Railway
Contractor (Superstructure) Wisconsin Bridge & Iron Company of Milwaukee
Contractor (Substructure) Foundation Company of New York
Contractor (Erection) Missouri Valley Bridge & Iron Company of Leavenworth, Kansas
Currently Owned By Union Pacific Railroad
Length 1,450 Feet Total, 204 Foot Main Span
Width 2 Tracks
Height Above Ground 25 Feet (Estimated)
Superstructure Type Parker Through Truss, Quadrangular Through Truss and Deck Girder
Substructures Type Stone Masonry
Date Built 1909
Traffic Count 75 Trains/Day (Estimated)
Current Status In Use, Scheduled For Replacement
UP Bridge Number 136.65
C&NW Bridge Number 0 1/2
Significance Regional Significance
Documentation Date December 2017
A brief history of the Chicago & North Western Iowa Division mainline, now part of the Overland Route:


View an article regarding the construction of this bridge.

This bridge is the middle crossing of the Mississippi River at Clinton.
Comprised of a single Parker Through Truss, eight Quadrangular Through Trusses and a deck girder, this is the largest of the three bridges crossing the Mississippi River at this location.
The nine truss spans contain riveted connections, and rest on stone substructures. The entire bridge was constructed by the Wisconsin Bridge & Iron Company of Milwaukee.
Of these nine spans, the main Parker Through Truss span contains seven panels.

Historic Photo
Blueprints of the bridge, from Railroad Gazette: Volume 48 Issue 2

In addition to the current bridge, the old substructures for the old bridge still exist along the north side of the bridge. In addition, the old highway bridge substructures remain to the south.
Due to the impending construction of the new railroad crossing, all major maintenance has ceased on this bridge. The new bridge will sit approximately 100 feet to the south of the existing bridge. Construction will begin in 2021, and end in 2025.
When the new crossing is complete, this bridge; as well as the other two bridges will be removed, ending one of the most unique crossings of the Mississippi River.

Historic Photo
Historic photo of the bridge alongside the previous bridge. Photo courtesy of PhotoLibrarian on Flickr.

The author has ranked this bridge as being regionally significant, due to the large scale truss design and age.
The photo above is an overview from the east end. The photo below is portal bracing on Span #9.

Mississippi River Railroad Bridges
Upstream Sabula Rail Bridge
East Sunfish Slough Bridge
West Clinton Rail Bridge
Downstream Government (Arsenal) Bridge

These Pictures Start at Varying Points in the Series

Detail Photos from December 2017


Source Type


Build Date Reconstruction of crossing
Contractor Missing Wisconsin Bridge & Iron Company plaque
Railroad Line History Source ICC Valuation Information, Compiled by Richard S. Steele

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