Keithsburg Lift Bridge

Abandoned Through Truss Lift Bridge across Misssissippi River
Keithsburg, Mercer County, Illinois
East of Oakville, Louisa County, Iowa

Click the Photo Above to See All Photos of This Bridge!
Name Keithsburg Lift Bridge
Built By Minneapolis & St. Louis Railway
Engineer Waddell & Harrington Lift Bridge Company
Contractor (Fabrication) McClintic-Marshall Company of Chicago
Contractor (Erection) Union Bridge & Construction Company of Kansas City
Currently Owned By Iowa and Illinois DNR
Length 2,303 Feet Total; 234 Foot Lift Span
Width 1 Track
Height Above Ground 30 Feet (Estimated)
Superstructure Type Lift Span with Pratt Through Truss and Deck Plate Girder
Substructure Type Concrete
Date Built 1909
Date of Destruction June 30th 1981
Traffic Count 0 Trains/Day (Bridge is Abandoned)
Current Status Abandoned, Lift Span and one Truss Removed
M&StL Bridge Number 931
Significance Regional Significance
Documentation Date August 2013
A brief history of the Minneapolis & St. Louis mainline from Mason City to Peoria and Albia:


This bridge is the main bridge over the Mississippi River. It contained a deck girder, nine 7-panel Pratt Through Trusses with riveted connections and A-Frame portals, a 234' Lift Span and a single truss.
The bridge was built in 1909 on concrete substructures to replace an 1886 Whipple Through Truss. The stone piers for that bridge are right beside this bridge.

Historic Photo
Historic photo of the previous bridge

On June 30th 1981, the bridges lift span shack was set ablaze by teens with fireworks. This set the bridge on fire, collapsing the lift span.
It was nearly 2 weeks until the Army Corp of Engineers blew up the lift span and one other truss. Today, this leaves a huge gap in the bridge.
After the collapse of the center span, there were plans to reuse portions of the bridge to load barges. However, these plans completely fell through.
Overall, the remaining structure remains in fair condition. The author is curious why this bridge wasn't removed, although the remaining structures would be viable for future use.

Historic Photo
Historic photo of the bridge

The author has ranked this bridge as being regionally significant, due to the large design of the bridge.
The photo above is an overview. More photos of this bridge will be coming soon.

Mississippi River Railroad Bridges
Upstream Crescent Bridge
Downstream Burlington Lift Bridge


Source Type


Build Date Construction reports
Contractor Construction reports
Railroad Line History Source ICC Valuation Information, Compiled by Richard S. Steele

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