Have you ever heard of a singing bridge? It’s a certain type of bridge with a metal grate flooring that will ‘hum’ or ‘sing’ as your tires drive over it – and one of the final ‘Singing Bridges’ in Iowa is about to disappear.

The Black Hawk Bridge (or the “Lansing Bridge” as it’s mainly called) in Lansing joins Iowa with Wisconsin and is Iowa’s northernmost bridge to cross the Mississippi River. You can still drive across it, but its replacement is scheduled to begin construction in just two years.

Iowa DOT
Iowa DOT

The over 1,100-foot-long bridge was built from 1929 to 1931 and was the first passenger bridge to connect Iowa and Wisconsin. Planning for the bridge dates as far back as 1898.

Why Replace this Historic Bridge?

The height and weight limits of the current bridge do not meet the needs of modern-day commercial truck traffic, and the new bridge will be constructed with higher clearance. In addition to the added width, the bridge approaches on both the Iowa and Wisconsin side will be improved, which will allow for better turning for large trucks. Currently, the entrance from the Iowa side of the bridge is extremely tight.

It will also allow easier access for river traffic, including barges. Currently, the concrete piers supporting the bridge are 600 feet apart. The new piers will be 750 feet apart.

The wider shoulders also should allow space for bicyclists or pedestrians to travel over the bridge. The proposed new bridge will be built directly to the north of the current bridge. The build will take approximately two years.

It was revealed during a meeting on June 15, 2021, that the replacement bridge's design would look extremely similar to the current bridge's design.

The name, ‘Black Hawk Bridge’ was named for Chief Black Hawk, a war chief and leader of the Sauk tribe in the Midwest, who lived from 1767-1838.

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