The McClugage Bridge was originally designed in 1939 as a steel cantilever bridge to replace the Upper Free Bridge across a narrow stretch of Upper Peoria Lake. The two-lane bridge was completed in 1948 following World War II. It allowed traffic to travel east and west across the Illinois River. The McClugage Bridge has been repaired several times since 1964, with a major rehabilitation in 1999.
In 1982, an additional three-lane bridge with a similar look and style to the original McClugage Bridge was added immediately north of the existing structure. This northern bridge currently carries westbound traffic, while the original southern structure now carries eastbound traffic.
Although the eastbound US 150 bridge has been rehabilitated, the basic structure is more than seven decades old and is approaching the end of its serviceable life. It is not up-to-date with current design standards or safety criteria. Weather, vehicle use, age, and salt used in snow removal have also caused it to deteriorate.
The average daily traffic use of over 20,000 eastbound vehicles predicts that the current two-lane bridge will be insufficient for accommodating future traffic needs. Furthermore, the needs of cyclists and pedestrians must be considered since this bridge is a major crossing point over the Illinois River.
The additional lane and accommodation considerations could mean the current 30-foot wide bridge could significantly widen. The combination of all these factors indicates the need for another rehabilitation, or complete reconstruction, of the eastbound bridge structure.