U.S. 52 travels through northeastern Iowa from the Dale Gardner Veterans Memorial Bridge across the Mississippi River at Sabula to Minnesota north of Decorah. The 167-mile route in the Hawkeye State is a part of the Great River Road north from Sabula to Dubuque, and again through Guttenburg.
U.S. 52 Iowa Highway Guides
Opened in 1932 as a private toll bridge, the Savanna-Sabula Bridge was a steel truss through deck span linking Sabula, Iowa with Savanna, Illinois. Traveling 2,482 feet to a height of 73 feet, the Savanna-Sabula Bridge carried two lanes of traffic across the Mississippi River on a 20-foot deck. Reaching the end of its lifespan, an $80.6 million project started in 2015, replaced the span with a new bridge.1
Located 1,000 feet to the south of the original bridge, the new bridge linking Sabula and Savanna was designated the Dale Gardner Veterans Memorial Bridge by the legislation adopted by the Illinois House of Representatives on May 26, 2017. A native of Savanna, Gardner (1948-2014) was a U.S. Navy Captain and a NASA astronaut2 The 2,462-foot long steel tied-arch bridge debuted to motorists on the evening of November 17, 2017. Iowa and Illinois share jurisdiction of the crossing, which accommodates wider travel lanes and shoulders across a 40 foot wide deck.3
Subsequent work replaces the Mississippi River overflow bridge along the causeway by Town Lake. During construction, inspectors discovered safety concerns with the stability of the roadway, resulting in the closure of U.S. 52 & Iowa 64 between Savanna and Sabula in February 2018. With traffic detoured north to crossings at Dubuque or south to Fulton, accelerated construction was anticipated to reopen the route by late May 2018.5 However, with flooding and construction crews having problems reaching the bed rock, reopening of U.S. 52 & Iowa 62 across the Upper Mississippi River Wild Life and Fish Refuge was pushed back to September 2018.6
The Southwest Arterial is a new 6.1-mile freeway under construction for U.S. 52 around Dubuque. The four-lane alignment will angle northwest from U.S. 61/151 at Dubuque Technology Park to Dubuque Industrial Center West and U.S. 20 near Dubuque Industrial Center. A dumbbell interchange along the highway will connect with a new road linking English Mill and North Cascade Roads.
The $157 million highway will open initially with two lanes in 2019. The Iowa Department of Transportation (IowaDOT) will fund the remainder of the $17.4 million needed to complete the four-lane project at a later date.
- US 52/IL 64 over the Mississippi River. IDOT project website.
- "State approves Dale Gardner Veterans Memorial Bridge." Carroll County Mirror Democrat (IL), June 2, 2017.
- "New U.S. 52-Illinois 64 Bridge Opens in Savanna." State of Illinois, news release, November 17, 2017.
- "Relive the Savanna-Sabula bridge demolition from multiple angles." WQAD (Moline, IL), March 9, 2018.
- "Bridge between Savanna, Sabula closed until late May." Quad-City Times, February 27, 2018.
- "Savanna bridge opening delayed until Labor Day." WQAD (Moline, IL), May 11, 2018.
Page Updated 05-20-2018.