Santa Fe Swing Span Bridge (Toll Bridge) – Fort Madison, Iowa

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Santa Fe Swing Span Bridge (Toll Bridge) – Fort Madison, Iowa. This swinging truss bridge crosses over the Mississippi River that connects Fort Madison, Iowa and unincorporated Niota, Illinois. 

Rail traffic occupies the lower deck of the bridge, while two lanes of road traffic occupy the upper deck. It is widely considered the longest double-deck swing-span bridge in the world. Completed in 1927, it replaced an inadequate combination single-track / roadway bridge completed in 1887. The main river crossing consists of four 270 foot through truss spans and a swing span made of two equal arms, 266 feet long. In 1999, it was listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

The Fort Madison Toll Bridge was opened in July of 1928.

The bridge is currently owned by BNSF Railway and Amtrak’s Southwest Chief crosses the bridge.

The bridge has a sharp curve in it just before the toll booth which keeps traffic moving very slowly across the bridge. There is a $1.00 charge to leave Iowa and enter Illinois (for vehicles using the bridge) but no fee for those coming from Illinois into Iowa.

Location: At the foot of 2nd Street


  1. Worked on this bridge many times, up in “crows nest” on top. Now everything is on highway level.Was a train-order clerk,operator

  2. S. Blackburn says:

    Presently costs $2.00 to cross the bridge to Illinois in a car.

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