By Associated Press - Saturday, November 18, 2017

SAVANNA, Ill. (AP) - Illinois and Iowa officials are celebrating the opening of a new Mississippi River bridge from Savanna, Illinois, to Sabula, Iowa.

The $80 million span opened to traffic Friday evening. It provides river passage for U.S. 52 and Illinois 64.

Illinois Department of Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn says the modern span provides greater safety and better recreational and economic opportunities.

It stretches 2,400 feet from the Upper Mississippi River Wildlife & Fish Refuge in Iowa to the bluffs of the Mississippi Palisades State Park in Illinois .

The previous span opened in 1932 as a private toll bridge. It’s just 20 feet wide with no shoulders. Large vehicles often overlapped the center line and there was no side-road room for bicycles or disabled vehicles.

It will be dismantled and removed next spring.

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