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Arch assembly begins on the Illinois River for the new McClugage Bridge

As the piers for the new eastbound McClugage Bridge continue to rise from the Illinois River in Peoria, the next phase of construction will be just as exciting.

Currently in view on the river just 300 yards south of the new bridge site are green pilings that will support a temporary structure that will be used to build the structure’s centerpiece, a tied-arch. Measuring 650 feet long when complete, the entire arch will be constructed there and then hoisted into place with a crane onto the new piers.

The highest point of the arch will measure 130 feet above the bridge deck, with stay cables supporting the deck below. Nothing less than precise engineering goes into a project like this, as independent, opposite ends of the arch will take shape to meet exactly in the middle of the highest point of the curve.

Construction of the new $167 million bridge began in spring 2019. When completed in 2023, it will replace a more than 70-year-old bridge that carries more than 20,000 eastbound trips daily from Peoria. This new structure will improve capacity, increase safety, reduce travel times and ensure additional multimodal access with bike/pedestrian accommodations.

Following the opening, it will take a year to demolish the old bridge and complete the new bridge over Adams Street. Visit www.McClugageBridge.com to find more information about the project, including impressive drone photos and 24/7 webcam footage of the construction.

Bridge Facts

  • The new bridge will contain more than 40 million pounds of steel.
  • Each of the 22 piers for the new bridge is 11 feet thick and are 30 to 40 feet high.
  • It will take an estimated 750,000 work hours to complete the bridge.
  • In addition to a 14-foot multi-use path, the new bridge will feature a pedestrian overlook that allows visitors a closer view of the Illinois River.
  • The project will include trailhead parking lots and commemorative parks on each side of the river. The parks will have structural members (steel beams) from the dismantled bridge and three plaques to describe the history and significance of the original McClugage Bridge (1948 - 2023), The Free Bridge (1889-1947), and an Ironworkers’ memorial.