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.
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