North Clinton - Fulton Bridge 1974

From: The Clinton Herald, Thursday, December 19, 1974, P.1
Transcribed by a Clinton County IaGenWeb volunteer.

Bridge Dedicated.
By Lee F. White – Editorial Consultant

“Another link was dedicated this morning in the chain of friendship which has existed between Iowa and Illinois since pioneer days.”

These were the words of Iowa Highway Commission chairman David O. Shaff, of Clinton, during ceremonies this morning at mid-span of the new North Clinton – Fulton bridge.
The dedication was preceded by a brunch attended by about 100 persons, including delegations from Sterling and Rock Falls, and sponsored by the Clinton and Fulton Chambers of Commerce.

Alan Mayer, former member of the commission, was master of ceremonies in the absence of Donald Murray, Fulton editor and former Clinton Bridge Commission chairman.

Shaff said that as highway commission chairman, it was “indeed a pleasure to participate in the dedication of this new North Clinton – Fulton bridge which links the two great and friendly states of Illinois and Iowa.”

“Completion of this massive structure, costing more than $7 million, is in itself a tribute to members of the former Clinton Bridge Commission and residents of the two states which they represented for the last 30 years,” Shaff said.

“As you know,” Shaff continued, “The Iowa State Highway Commission entered the picture nearly three years ago. Members voted unanimously to assume the burden of the Clinton Bridge Commission after economic conditions prevented that commission from financing completion of the superstructure and assumed responsibility for the project as part of its service to people of the two communities as well as the entire area which the span will serve.

Referring to what he termed the “excellent relationship which has grown up between Clinton, Fulton and the neighboring communities,” Shaff pointed out that each day an estimated 2,000 persons cross the two local bridges going to and from their employment.

“The bridges,” Shaff said, “carry Clinton and other Iowa residents to employment in Illinois and Illinois residents to Iowa. More than 700 Illinois residents are employed in Clinton industry and several hundred more in retail trade and other lines of endeavor.

“Bridges are built not just for today bur for the future,” Shaff declared. “Studies of the Governor’s Conference on Iowa for the Year 2000 have suggested that this portion of the state may expect a population growth of as much as 52 percent by the year 2000. Such an expansion would, of course, include our neighbors in Illinois.”

Shaff said when Modjeski and Masters, designers of the bridge, submitted an initial report to the Clinton Bridge Commission, it was estimated the new bridge would be able to handle an average of 550 vehicles per lane per hour. Thus, he continued, it can be understood it will be able to handle considerably more traffic than is now generated.

Shaff said the old bridge, which is being replaced, has been handling about 3,000 vehicles per day but that figure is expected to increase when truck travel is permitted. He explained that since the old bridge, built in 1891, was weakened by fire several years ago, travel has been restricted to passenger vehicles and pick-up trucks.

Shaff said, “Governor Robert Ray, the other members of eh Iowa State Commission and all of its staff join with me in congratulating both the people of Illinois and Iowa on this occasion.
“We believe this fine, modern bridge is another link in the chain of friendship which has existed and grown since pioneer days when travelers had a choice of either swimming the Mississippi or taking the precarious risk of the rude ferry boat.”

Shaff recalled that the old Lincoln Highway bridge, which the new span replaces, “has served more than 80 years and has played an important part in the lives of countless thousands of persons and in the progress of our nation.

“Because of the foresight of Mark N. Morris, long time chairman of the Clinton Bridge Commission, and the many who served with him, we now have another bridge which we believe will continue to be a factor in the life and growth of our communities and our two great states,” Shaff concluded.

After the invocation by the Rev. John E. Hedger, rector of Grace Episcopal Church, Mayer introduced former members of the Clinton Bridge Commission.

Fulton Mayor Warren Wiersema introduced Illinois guests and Clinton Mayor H. E. Obermiller introduced Iowa guests. These included city council members of both cities.

D. E. Sunmark, Dixon, district engineer for the Illinois Department of Transportation and its representative on the Clinton Bridge Commission, offered congratulations from Gov. Daniel Walker and Langhorne Bond, director of the Department of Transportation.

Several members of the Iowa Highway Commission were introduced by Chairman Shaff.

Participating in the ribbon cutting ceremony were Shaff, Warren Wiersema, Mayor Obermiller and Mrs. Mark N. Morris, widow of the bridge commission chairman who served from 1944 until his death in 1972.

After the benediction by the Rev. Gerald D. Iwerks, pastor of Fulton Presbyterian Church, the Iowa-Illinois Antique Auto Club led a procession to the Fulton exit to mark the first official use of the bridge.

The new span will not be opened to traffic until completion of the toll house and installation of collection equipment. This is expected by Jan. 1.