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Sullivan-Hutsonville Bridge

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Title: Sullivan-Hutsonville Bridge  
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Language: English
Subject: David B. Steinman
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Sullivan-Hutsonville Bridge

Hutsonville Bridge
Looking SW from the Indiana side
Carries Former Illinois Route 135 / Indiana Route 154
Crosses Wabash River
Locale Hutsonville, Illinois, Crawford County, Illinois/ Graysville, Indiana, Sullivan County, Indiana
Maintained by Indiana Department of Transportation(former)
Design Self-anchored suspension bridge
Total length 1002.0 ft (305.4 m)
Width 2 lanes: 20.0 ft (6.1 m)
Longest span 350.0 ft (106.7 m)
Vertical clearance Tower Height 70.2 ft (21.4 m)
Opened November 18, 1939
Daily traffic vehicular, unknown
Closed 1988

39°06′36″N 87°39′18″W / 39.11006°N 87.65510°W / 39.11006; -87.65510Coordinates: 39°06′36″N 87°39′18″W / 39.11006°N 87.65510°W / 39.11006; -87.65510

The Hutsonville Bridge or Sullivan-Hutsonville Bridge connecting Crawford County, Illinois and Sullivan County, Indiana over the Wabash River, built 1939 and replaced in 1988, was an example of the relatively rare self-anchored suspension bridge type. It was designed by Robinson & Steinman, with R. V. Milbank as the resident chief engineer, and constructed by Wisconsin Bridge and Iron Company as general contractor and Vincennes Steel Corp/Wisconsin Steel Corporation as steel fabricators and Charles J. Glasgow as a subcontractor.

Note the use of multiple independent cables, rather than a large single interleaved and sheathed cable, as is typical for larger suspension bridges, or eyebars, often used in smaller bridges such as the Pittsburgh Seventh Street Bridge also self-anchored.

Although the bridge was determined "eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places" in 1987 due to the rarity of its type,[1] the bridge was replaced in 1988 and demolished, with the replacement bridge being made of concrete and supported by pillars instead of suspension.

According to the site referenced below, the demolition was controversial. The site in turn cites the September 26, 1988 issue of the Springfield, IL "The State Journal-Register" that the company to which the $100,000 demolition contract was let offered to turn the money over to save the bridge. The locals agreed, but the company's Chief Engineer Stephen Schneider was quoted, "I think Indiana really wants to tear it down. They've been ... forced to send inspectors out every two weeks. I think they just want the headache gone." Gary Abell, spokesman for the Indiana Dept. Of Highways said its design is "not one of the best. It works in theory, but not in practice. This is like trying to save a mistake." In 2002, an unnamed INDOT representative was cited as saying, "I am not sure why you are interested in that bridge, but from our standpoint, it was a very poorly designed bridge that had many problems from the day that it was completed, until it was brought down."


External links

  • Hutsonville Bridge entry at
  • HAER record on this bridge
  • HAER design drawing details on cable self anchorage
  • Structurae
  • Hutsonville Bridge entry at

Further reading

  • Ratigan, W. (1959). "Highways Over Broad Waters." Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. ASIN B0007IY0OC
  • Cooper, James L. (1987) Iron Monuments to Distant Posterity - Indiana's Metal Bridges, 1870-1930.
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