The time has come for the 86-year-old Savanna-Sabula Bridge, a steel truss bridge that spanned the Mississippi River on the Illinois-Iowa border, to be demolished.
The Savanna-Sabula, which connected Savanna, Illinois, with the small island town of Sabula, Iowa, was demolished around 10:30 a.m. local time Friday, ushering a large cloud of black smoke into the sky. The bridge had a number of flaws, local station WQAD reports, as it was built at a time when automobiles were smaller and had a narrow roadway that was not ideal for today’s cars and trucks.
Additionally, the bridge was particularly dangerous to drive over during spells of freezing rain since ice would build up on the steel, WQAD reports. The Savanna-Sabula also had an open-grate deck that allowed crossers to peer down into the water below, which could be a problem as resident Ron Mennenga told the outlet.
“They kept up the maintenance on that pretty good. But when they put salt down on the bridge, it would go through the grates and end up in the river,” he said.
Mennenga and other residents had fond memories of the bridge, according to WQAD, but he conceded it was time for it to come down. The Department of Transportation in 2017 spent $80 million to construct a new bridge south of the Savanna-Sabula. That structure opened last November.