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The U.S. 52-Illinois 64 bridge over the Mississippi River connecting Savanna, Illinois, and Sabula, Iowa, opened to traffic Friday.

“The new Savanna-Sabula bridge greatly improves safety, better connects our communities and strengthens commerce in an important part of our state,” Illinois Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn said in a news release. “The new design is modern and eye-catching, but the biggest benefits will be enhanced quality of life and more economic opportunity for a vital gateway into Illinois.”

The new bridge is more than 2,400 feet long and 40 feet across with two wider lanes and shoulders. Construction on the new bridge began in 2015 with its main focal point being the main span, a steel tied-arch over the river.

“This bridge will bring new economic opportunities to both of our communities. I hope to see an increase in commercial traffic as well as tourism,” Savanna Mayor Chris Lain said. “This project has been a nice boost to our local economy, with all the workers stay in and enjoying our beautiful town."

The Illinois Department of Transportation was the lead agency on the project with Illinois and Iowa sharing jurisdiction. The previous bridge opened in 1932 as a private toll bridge and will be dismantled and removed in the spring. It was deemed a safety concern because, at 20 feet across, it was considered too narrow for bicycles and vehicles for disabled motorists.

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