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Fort Madison Bridge; Are bikes allowed?

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Fort Madison Bridge; Are bikes allowed?

Old 06-20-23, 08:59 PM
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Fort Madison Bridge; Are bikes allowed?

I am marching west across Illinois on 116, about 10 miles east of Roseville camped out right now. Taking the Fort Madison Bridge would be most efficient, but it seems that is a toll bridge that is open up to 5 times a day, according to their Wikipedia page.
There is an absolute dearth of internet information with regard to my query, so I thought I might ask here. Any help appreciated. I am aware of the alternative crossings in Burlington and Keokuk.
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Old 06-21-23, 03:49 AM
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Maybe ask a local?
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Old 06-21-23, 05:11 AM
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I don't know the answer to your question, but see a few clues on the internet:
1. Searching crazyguyonabike for "Fort Madison" includes at least an account or two of bicycles crossing. In addition, Strava heat maps show bicycles across.
2. There is a private Facebook group I can see with Google search of "Fort Madison bridge status" you might try joining.

My guess is bicycles are allowed and there are two types of closure (1) a short one to open the bridge and let a barge go through (2) a long one where they take the bridge for maintenance. The FB group can probably tell you about longer closures, the short ones just happen and vehicles wait.
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Old 06-21-23, 06:01 AM
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Does Google Maps with bicycle selected route you across? This is not definitive, but a pretty good indication that you may cross on the bike.
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Old 06-21-23, 06:25 AM
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A sign prohibits pedestrians, meaning no walkway. Nothing is said about bikes, but I certainly would consider an alternative.

Great River Rd - Google Maps
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Old 06-21-23, 06:54 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
A sign prohibits pedestrians, meaning no walkway. Nothing is said about bikes, but I certainly would consider an alternative.

Great River Rd - Google Maps
I was going to suggest checking street view for signs, but I see the link has already been provided. Looks like it is legal. No sign any way. It doesn't look especially bike friendly, but I have ridden similar. I typically would take the lane and ride as fast as I could so as to not hold up traffic too much. Maybe not for the squeamish so look at the street view and decide.

Edit to add that it looks like it is owned by the railroad. Also you might be able to find a pickup truck waiting for the opening and offer to pay their toll to haul you across.

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Old 06-21-23, 01:22 PM
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Original poster, here. Thanks for all of the help. The bridge being open seems to be the default state, at least for this time of year. The bridge remained open,and I saw no barge traffic during the hour I spent in the riverside park after crossing. Traffic over the bridge was light, and tolls are only charged for Eastbound traffic, so I don't know what the fee is for bicycles.
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Old 06-22-23, 05:51 AM
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"Open", in drawbridge parlance, means open for the passage of marine traffic, and this closed for the passage of land vehicles and people. As best I can tell from a quick look, this particular bridge remains in the closed position but must be opened upon signal this time of year. (Between about mid-December and the end of February, it need only be opened upon 24 hrs. notice.) Also, when you have rail traffic, like this bridge does, usually the bridge does not have to be opened until a train clears the home signal for the bridge. You know more about Coast Guard drawbridge regulations than you probably want to. I used to handle drawbridge issues at work.
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Old 06-22-23, 06:40 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
"Open", in drawbridge parlance, means open for the passage of marine traffic, and this closed for the passage of land vehicles and people. As best I can tell from a quick look, this particular bridge remains in the closed position but must be opened upon signal this time of year. (Between about mid-December and the end of February, it need only be opened upon 24 hrs. notice.) Also, when you have rail traffic, like this bridge does, usually the bridge does not have to be opened until a train clears the home signal for the bridge. You know more about Coast Guard drawbridge regulations than you probably want to. I used to handle drawbridge issues at work.
Thanks for that info indyfabz. I definitely had a misunderstanding about what "open" meant.
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Old 06-22-23, 07:02 AM
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Originally Posted by plasticmaam12
Thanks for that info indyfabz. I definitely had a misunderstanding about what "open" meant.
It all depends on your point of view. When I was working on the reactivation of the Staten Island Railroad Bridge across the Arthur Kill, a vertical lift bridge, the maritime community considered the bridge "open" when it was in the raised position, allowing for the full passage of marine traffic. The railroad, of course, saw that as the bridge being "closed." Today, the bridge remains in the raised position and is only lowered when a train needs to pass, which currently only happens only times a day.

Pretty impressive structure. Longest railroad lift span in the world.

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Old 06-23-23, 04:31 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
. When I was working on the reactivation of the Staten Island Railroad Bridge across the Arthur Kill…..
”Arthur Kill”? For those who wonder about the weird name - many water courses in NYS include the “kill” term as it comes from early Dutch settlers in the New York colony. Dutch for water channel or stream vs some reference to violent end of life. This takes me back as I grew up near the Lisha Kill.

OK, back to the regularly scheduled programming…..
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