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Julien Dubuque Bridge facts for kids

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Julien Dubuque Bridge
Dubuque Iowa Julien Dubuque Bridge.jpg
Julien Dubuque Bridge in October 2008
Location US 20, between Dubuque, Iowa, and East Dubuque, Illinois, over the Mississippi River
Area 3.8 acres (1.5 ha)
Built 1943
Architectural style Trussed arch bridge
NRHP reference No. 99001034
Added to NRHP August 27, 1999

The Julien Dubuque Bridge crosses the Mississippi River. It joins the cities of Dubuque, Iowa, and East Dubuque, Illinois. The bridge is part of U.S. Route 20 (US 20). It is one of two automobile bridges over the Mississippi in the area (the Dubuque–Wisconsin Bridge three miles [4.8 km] north links Dubuque with Wisconsin), and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.


For a number of years, people living in the area wanted a bridge to replace the old bridge, which was called either the "High Bridge" or the "Wagon Bridge." However, economic conditions at the time made it difficult to get the financing together to build a new bridge.

During World War II, a new bridge became even more important as it would help facilitate military transportation. In 1942, the first parts of the bridge were begun. In 1943, the bridge was completed. It was painted gray to help camouflage the bridge in case of enemy attack.

Because the bridge was financed with bonds, it initially operated as a toll bridge. Proceeds were used to help pay off the bonds. In the post-war years, traffic was so heavy the bonds were paid off 11 years early, and the bridge became toll-free in 1954.

In the early 1990s, the bridge underwent an extensive renovation. The deck was replaced, and a new walkway was installed. For many years, the bridge was a dark green color; however in more recent times it again has been painted a light gray color.

Prior to the construction of the Dubuque-Wisconsin Bridge, the Julien Dubuque Bridge also carried US 61 and US 151. This resulted in both of these highways passing a short distance through Jo Daviess County, Illinois, between Dubuque and Wisconsin. Now both highways cross the Mississippi on the Dubuque–Wisconsin Bridge, which directly connects Wisconsin and Iowa, and neither US 61 nor US 151 passes through Illinois.

On June 9, 2008, the bridge was struck by a number of runaway barges shortly after 8 p.m. Fifteen barges—which were loaded with corn, soybeans, and iron ore—struck one of the pillars on the eastern side of the main channel. Unsure of whether the bridge was stable, authorities temporarily closed it until an inspection could be performed. Traffic was rerouted on to the Dubuque–Wisconsin Bridge a few miles to the north.

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