Bolivia Road Bridge
Fork, Sangamon River,
(Christian and Sangamon counties)
This bridge is the oldest in Illinois to include a
Parker through-truss span (named for the engineer C.H.
Parker) that still serves vehicular traffic. Connecting
the counties of Sangamon and Christian, this
single-lane, steel-and-timber bridge was built in 1901.
In 2001, the Sangamon County Highway Department
announced plans to replace it with a new concrete
structure. Due to lack of funding, however, the bridge
has not yet been demolished and replaced. Local
advocates are working with county and state officials to
preserve the bridge for cycling and pedestrian use. In
the meantime, the bridge continues to deteriorate and
may risk closure.
Located 20 miles southeast of Springfield, the Bolivia
Road Bridge is one of eight remaining bridges in
Illinois utilizing a Parker through-truss. Most others
in the state have been replaced by bridges of reinforced
concrete. Steel-truss bridges 110 years ago, when this
bridge was constructed, were a common bridge type of the
time and were known for their strength, relative
lightness, and durability. The Bolivia Road Bridge is
622 feet in length and the portal bracings of the bridge
display ornamental trim and finials at the corners.
The bridge was cited in the
Illinois Department of Transportationís (IDOT) 1994
historic bridge survey, and was featured on the
cover of IDOTís 2001-02 state highway map. The bridge
was successfully nominated for listing in the National
Register of Historic Places in 2003.
The Sangamon County Historic Preservation Commission has
recently worked with the Sangamon County Highway
Department to find a recreational use for the bridge.
The two entities are gaining assistance from IDOT and
the state Department of Natural Resources toward this
What You Can Do
To help with this effort, contact Jerry Jacobson,
Sangamon County Historic Preservation Commission at