History of “The Bridge”

The Bridge: The proposed Little Egypt Oasis is to be built on a vacant railroad bridge, over Interstate 57, in the heart of Little Egypt, at mile marker #65, in The City of West Frankfort, Illinois.  This railroad bridge was built 96 foot wide and 160 foot long to facilitate a CB&Q Railroad switchyard serving several coal mines surrounding the city.

The rails of the switchyard remained on the original grade as they crossed the bridge over Interstate 57 and the adjacent areas were excavated allowing the interstate to be constructed below the original grade. The excavation is about three-quarters of a mile long starting north of Illinois State Route 149 / Main Street and ending south of North Road, with the railroad bridge situated about half way between.

As originally built, in 1963, at a cost of over one million dollars ($1,000,000.00), this bridge had six sets of rails crossing it and was designed to support the massive load of, at least, six steam locomotives along with tender cars and coal cars.

This bridge was built to facilitate the once heavily used rail lines serving several coal mines but, ironically by the time construction was completed the mines had closed.