SPRINGFIELD, ILL. - Governor Rod Blagojevich today announced the completion of a new bridge crossing Whispering Willow Lake at Frank Holten State Park in East St. Louis. The bridge is located near the main entrance to the park, providing access to day use areas, picnic shelters, the park office, and the park’s Grand Marais Golf Course and clubhouse.
“The new bridge is a needed and welcomed investment in the safety and convenience of visitors to Frank Holten State Park,” Governor Blagojevich said. “It improves safety for motorists entering and leaving the park and for pedestrians, with new sidewalks on both sides of the vehicle lanes on the bridge.”
The $700,000 project replaced a previous bridge constructed in 1940, the substructure of which had deteriorated in recent years. The previous bridge approach spans had eroded, causing large bumps at each end of the bridge.
The new bridge is supported on 28 concrete piers buried approximately 35 feet into the ground. Ten pre-cast concrete bridge beams span approximately 65 feet over the lake. The bridge vehicle lanes are a total of 28 feet wide, with sidewalks of five feet in width for pedestrians on each side of the roadway. The bridge provides a 10-foot clearance above the water to allow boats to pass beneath it. Two gravel walkways were designed under the bridge structure to benefit anglers who enjoy bank fishing in Whispering Willow Lake.
The bridge project was funded through capital development bond funds and was directed by the Capital Development Board.
The 1,080-acre Frank Holten State Park attracted nearly 400,000 visitors last year. In addition to the 18-hole Grand Marais Golf Course, the park features fishing and boating opportunities on both the Whispering Willow and Grand Marais lakes. Picnic tables and shelters are available. The park also provides recreational areas for soccer, basketball and baseball. The site became a state park in 1964. In 1967, it was named in honor of the late Frank Holten, who represented the area in the General Assembly for 48 years. For more information, contact the park office at 618/874-7920.