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Vachel Lindsay Bridge

Vachel Lindsay Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: March 21, 2016

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Long Bay Drive Over Lake Springfield
Springfield: Sangamon County, Illinois: United States
Structure Type
Concrete Cantilever Closed Spandrel (Ribbed) Deck Arch, Fixed and Approach Spans: Concrete Closed Spandrel (Ribbed) Deck Arch, Fixed
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1933 By Builder/Contractor: Unknown and Engineer/Design: Burns and McDonnell of Kansas City, Missouri

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
100 Feet (30.5 Meters)
Structure Length
1,398 Feet (426.1 Meters)
Roadway Width
22 Feet (6.71 Meters)
11 Main Span(s) and 10 Approach Span(s)
NBI Number

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

View Archived National Bridge Inventory Report - Has Additional Details and Evaluation

This bridge is one of the rarest types of concrete bridge, a cantilevered concrete arch bridge. It does not function as a true arch, in fact at the center of each arch span there is a small physical gap in the bridge, allowing each half of the bridge span to function as a cantilever out from the pier. This design is similar to the Belle Isle Bridge in Michigan. The National Bridge Inventory lists the Vachel Lindsay Bridge as a concrete girder bridge. This makes sense, because the bridge does not function as a true arch. On top of that, the arch design consists of two solid ribs, with transverse floorbeams under the deck. It could technically be thought of as a cantilevered concrete curved deck girder bridge, much like this through girder example in Ohio. Despite the Ohio bridge having a different aesthetic intent and a different girder position, the cantilever girder function is essentially the same.

The Vachel Lindsay Bridge retains excellent historic integrity, and the structural integrity is excellent too. The unusually extensive and handsome architectural details of this bridge remain intact and are not deteriorated. The cantilever design remains unchanged and unaltered. It is one of the finest and most historically significant concrete bridges in Illinois.

Above: A view showing the gap at the center of each arch span, showing that each half of the arch is structurally independent; a cantilever, not a true arch.


Above: Historical photo showing bridge construction.


Photo Galleries and Videos: Vachel Lindsay Bridge

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