A toll ferry crossed the Illinois river under a city license. That ferry ran until 1888, when a new private wooden toll bridge opened. A steel toll bridge was built by the city and opened in 1898. That bridge produced revenue for the city until 1955, when a new highway bridge was built in the mid-1950s to give highway US-67 a bypass route around the downtown area.
The Beardstown Bridge is one massive bridge, something that would only be expected on the lower Mississippi or other similarly large river. The main bridge is a through truss span about 1,365 feet long, with a 540 foot main span for navigation traffic. It rises nearly 70 feet above the water to the low steel line. To the north, there is a second through truss bridge about 710 feet long. A 1,000 foot long trestle crosses a backwater slough to the north, and a 500 foot steel deck truss bridge spans a creek on the south end. The overall river crossing is 2/3 of a mile.
As of 2007, the Illinois Department of Transportation is working to upgrade the US-67 corridor to be 4-lanes from the Quad Cities to Saint Louis. This will include a new US-67 bridge over the Illinois River at Beardstown. While the alignment and bridge type have not been selected, money has been approved to spend on a study, and the Illinois DOT plans to have the project completed by 2013.