New bridge named after astronaut

Dale Gardner Veterans Memorial Bridge is scheduled to open in 2018

A resolution designating the new Savanna-Sabula bridge as the Dale Gardner Veterans Memorial Bridge was unanimously adopted by the Illinois House of Representatives.

House Joint Resolution 58, sponsored by State Representative Tony McCombie, honors Gardner, the 1966 valedictorian of Savanna Community High School who went on to log 337 hours in space and orbit the earth 225 times.

“HJR 58 gives much deserved recognition to the service and accomplishments of U.S. Navy Captain Dale Gardner and the veterans who dedicated their lives to this country,” said Rep. McCombie. “Through this resolution, their accomplishments will live on.”

Gardner earned a Bachelor of Science and Engineering degree from the University of Illinois in 1970 with a 5.0 GPA. After graduation, he joined the U.S. Navy, where he earned his Naval Flight Wings and rose to the rank of captain. Gardner passed away on Feb. 19, 2014, at the age of 65.

The new bridge will replace the "outdated and functionally obsolete" Savanna-Sabula Bridge, which opened more than 85 years ago. It is scheduled to open in 2018 and costs $80 million.  

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