Weather, snow removal salt and usage by more than 20,000 vehicles a day has done its share of wear and tear on the McClugage Bridge, a steel cantilever bridge designed in 1939 to carry US Route 150 over Upper Peoria Lake & Peoria Lake in the Illinois River. Led by the prime contractor Johnson Bros. Corporation, construction of a new 745-foot-long eastbound bridge began in Spring 2019 to improve capacity, increase safety and reduce travel times.

In 2021, construction began of 22 new concrete piers designed to support the bridge over the waterway. Each pier is 11 feet thick and rises 30 to 40 feet in the air. Eight (qty. 8) 200-ton Engineered Rigging strand jacks were used to support the pier foundations during the construction phase. These heavy lifting wonders proved to be incredibly durable, as they were outdoors and under load for more than a year. Unfortunately, like many projects, the McClugage bridge encountered some unavoidable delays which led to the strand jacks needing to be on site and in use far beyond the projected date in the rental contract.

“Given Engineered Rigging’s large rental fleet of heavy lifting equipment, we were able to be flexible and accommodate Johnson Bros.’ needs,” shared Mike Beres, Director of Business Equipment Rental & Sales at Engineered Rigging.

Engineered Rigging provided the rental of the strand jacks, technicians to install and oversee the strand prep, and technical support throughout the pier construction phase. The new McClugage bridge is expected to be completed in 2023. A live webcam of the project is available at

Bridge Boom Begins in US

According to the 2022 Bridge Report conducted by American Road and Transportation Builders Association chief economist, “36% of US bridges—nearly 224,000 spans—need repair work [and] 78,800 bridges should be replaced.” The age and deteriorated condition of many civil structures led to the federal government’s $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which is the single largest investment in America’s infrastructure in modern history. The massive influx of funding has led to an uptick in bridge and overpass projects and high demand for heavy lifting equipment rental as detailed in this recent article.

“Engineered Rigging’s unique offering of rapid bridge construction and demolition equipment on demand is bridging the gap during the bridge boom,” said Beres.

Engineered Rigging’s equipment rentals, engineering expertise, and design-build solutions have contributed to the success of several recent bridge projects including the tallest bridge in Kentucky, the Wittpenn Bridge in New Jersey, the Texas trio of Panther Island Bridges and the Cline Avenue Bridge in East Chicago.

Flying Fish on the Illinois River

The McClugage Bridge spans the Illinois River, home to a phenomenon known as flying fish. Check out the video by zacandnate to see for yourself!