There have been 3 bridges named Shippingsport crossing the Illinois River in LaSalle County, Illinois. The designation of these bridges has changed from US 51, Business 51 to IL 351. The bridge was named after a civil war hero Harvey Shippingsport.
The first bridge at this site was constructed in 1872. The structure had a swing span. This bridge was replaced in 1929.
The replacement opened in November, 1929. It consisted of 6 Parker Through truss spans. Each of these were 180 feet long. There was a single Waddell and Harrington lift span. It was 200 feet in length. The largest span was 200 feet. Total bridge length was 1,679 feet. The builders of the bridge were Illinois Steel Bridge Company of Jacksonville, Illinois and Stresenreueter Brothers of Chicago. Construction costs were $500,000.
Over the years, the bridge deteriorated significantly and the IDOT considered closing the Highway 351 bridge. Lobbying by local residents resulted in a change by the state department. IDOT decided to rebuild the bridge. Because the new bridge was to be built in the same location as the 1929 bridge, this bridge was removed before the new one was constructed. This resulted in a lack of a river crossing at this site for two years.
The third bridge is the current one. It was built for a cost of 16 million dollars. Contractor was Edward Kreamer and Sons. Bridge type is steel girder with a concrete deck. A new type of high performance steel was used. The girders are thin and carried longer spans. There are two lanes of traffic. Length is 1,775 feet.
In 2004, the bridge was almost damaged by a F 3 tornado missing by a mere 20 feet.