Airtight Bridge

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Airtight Bridge
Airtight Bridge.jpg
Eastern portal
Airtight Bridge is located in Illinois
Airtight Bridge
Nearest cityCharleston, IL
Coordinates39°33′18″N 88°05′22″W / 39.55500°N 88.08944°W / 39.55500; -88.08944Coordinates: 39°33′18″N 88°05′22″W / 39.55500°N 88.08944°W / 39.55500; -88.08944
ArchitectClaude L. James
MPSColes County Highway Bridges Over the Embarras River TR
NRHP reference #81000211 [1]
Added to NRHPNovember 30, 1981
Airtight Bridge
Coordinates39°33′18″N 88°05′22″W / 39.55500°N 88.08944°W / 39.55500; -88.08944
CarriesTownship road 275
CrossesEmbarras River
Locale8 miles NE of Charleston, Illinois
ID number3165
DesignPratt through truss
Total length188 feet 4 inches
Width15 feet 7 inches
Clearance above13 feet 7 inches

The Airtight Bridge is a steel bridge spanning the Embarras River in Coles County, Illinois, in the United States 8 miles (13 km) north of Charleston, Illinois. The bridge is a Pratt through truss bridge with a steel structure, a wooden deck, and concrete piers. The bridge was built in 1914 by the Decatur Bridge Company and designed by engineer Claude L. James.[2] It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1981.[1] It reportedly got its name from the unnatural stillness encountered when crossing it.

In 1980, a dismembered corpse was found on the east bank of the river 30 yards downstream from the bridge, causing quite a stir in the local media. Police investigated for years, but were unable to determine the identity of the victim until 1992, when DNA testing produced a match to a missing person from Kankakee, Illinois. Once a cold case investigated by the Illinois State Police, the victim's husband was charged with the murder on March 2, 2017.[3]


  1. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. January 23, 2007.
  2. ^ "Bridge Inventory Form: Airtight Bridge" (PDF). Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. Retrieved December 18, 2013.
  3. ^ Clark, Bonnie (December 5, 2008). "Airtight Bridge murder victim honored by daughter who barely knew her". Journal Gazette & Times-Courier. Retrieved December 18, 2013.

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