Mississippi River closed for missing railroad bridge operator

Man's main job is to operate swing span; last seen 3:40 a.m.

A railroad bridge operator on the Illinois-Iowa border went missing early this morning and the Mississippi River has been shut down for most of the day as a result.

A man whose main job is to operate the swing span of the Dubuque Rail Bridge, a Canadian National Railway crossing north of the Julien Dubuque Bridge, was last seen on video surveillance camera footage around 3:40 a.m., according to East Dubuque fire chief Joseph M. Heim. The man was seen stepping out of the operations house on the bridge. No one heard from him since. The railroad contacted local police and fire at 7:15 a.m.

Around 9 a.m., the rescue effort shifted to a recovery effort, which will end around 4 p.m. At that time the river will reopen, but barge traffic will be asked to go slow so crews can continue searching.


The Mississippi River is closed while the East Dubuque Fire Department conducts an investigation.

The East Dubuque Police Department confirmed to Local 4 News that it is a missing persons case.

The river is closed from the train bridge to the Julien Dubuque Bridge until further notice.


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