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Fox River Aqueduct

Fox River Aqueduct

Primary Photographer(s): Tom Winkle

Bridge Documented: August 5, 2010

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Illinois and Michigan Canal (Abandoned Dry Section) Over Fox River
Location
Ottawa: La Salle County, Illinois: United States
Structure Type
Metal Through Girder, Fixed
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
By Builder/Contractor: Unknown

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
Not Available
Structure Length
Not Available
Roadway Width
Not Available
Spans
8 Main Span(s)
NBI Number
Not Applicable

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)

Bridge Documentation

View Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) Documentation For This Bridge

This structure is an aqueduct that carries the canal over a creek, in other words a bridge carrying water over water. Aqueducts like this were a fact of life in canal construction, but surviving functional examples, particularly in the United States are rare today. This bridge is far larger than the other surviving similar aqueduct on the Illinois and Michigan Canal, the Aux Sable Creek Aqueduct. However, the Fox River Aqueduct has lesser historic integrity. The Fox River Aqueduct has lost integrity of function, since it no longer carries water. Also, there are crudely cut holes in the steel girders. The exact purpose of these holes is unclear, but they diminish the historic integrity of the bridge and are ugly looking. Despite alterations and change of function, this bridge remains interesting and noteworthy because of its size, rarity, and also because it is now configured to allow pedestrians on the bridge, so a close look at the structure is possible.

The aqueduct is positioned directly beside a plate girder bridge which served the Chicago, Ottawa and Peoria Railroad, which was an interurban railroad. The interurban bridge was built in 1903 and served traffic until 1934 when it was abandoned. Today, this bridge also serves pedestrian traffic. The bridge is approximately 500 feet in length. The interurban bridge and the aqueduct have a shared pier.

Just as the aqueduct is right next to the interurban bridge, next to the interurban bridge in turn are the stone piers of yet another bridge which is today gone. It is likely this third bridge was a highway bridge.

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