WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Bickerdyke Bridge Opens in Galesburg

Dec 1, 2014

There is now another way to avoid being delayed by trains in Galesburg.

City and state leaders Monday morning opened the Bickerdyke Bridge on Seminary and Kellogg Streets.  Construction began in September, 2013. City leaders say the price tag ended up being $16,068,344.

Construction of the Bickerdyke Bridge in Galesburg provided 140 construction jobs.
Credit T.J. Carson

Cold temperatures forced most of the bridge-opening ceremony to be held inside the First United Methodist Church on Kellogg Street.

Supporters touted how the bridge would improve traffic flow, ease access to businesses, and help emergency vehicles.

“Our ambulances will have better response times, especially to the south end of Galesburg, as well as quicker access to both hospitals," said Mike Howard, Director of Operations for Galesburg Hospitals' Ambulance Service. 

"This bridge will have enormous impact on the overall health and well-being of visitors, as well as to the citizens of Galesburg."

Galesburg also has a statue of Mother Bickerdyke
Credit Rich Egger

Some speakers at the ceremony focused on who the bridge is named after: Mary Ann "Mother" Bickerdyke.  She lived in Galesburg when the American Civil War broke out and became one of the war's best-known nurses.

Mayor John Pritchard said the city was honoring all nurses by naming the bridge after Bickerdyke.

“I hope as you see the sign and when you cross the bridge in the future, you’ll think of this Mother Bickerdyke story and you’ll think of the nursing professionals who she led the way for,” Pritchard said.