Benton Avenue viaduct was dedicated on a Friday night, July 27, 1928.
It cost $200,000 to build and was funded through a $76,000 bond issue
and private donations, mainly from the railroads whose tracks the
viaduct spanned. About 10,000 citizens attended the dedication ceremony.
Afterward, many automobile drivers drove over the new bridge to try
it out. The Grant Avenue viaduct was under construction at the time
and was completed soon after. The dedication ceremony was quite a
fete with city officials and Frisco and Missouri Pacific railroad
officials attending and the famous Boy Scout Band playing. The viaduct
was said by speakers to be the beginning of a new broadening of civic
development as well as a new link between north and south Springfield.
Speakers included Mayor T.H. Gideon, city attorney Dan Nee and well-known
Springfield businessman Louis Reps.
Reps suggested that owners of the homes on Benton turn all their lights
on so the thoroughfare would present its best appearance.
In April 1976, voters approved a 3.4 million dollar bond issue that
provided funding for the renovation of both the Benton Avenue and
Grant Avenue viaducts. The Benton Avenue viaduct was closed for construction
from June 27, 1977, to July 29, 1978. In July 1978, both viaducts
were rededicated. Many well-known Springfieldians attended the ceremonies,
including mayor Paul Redfearn and former mayor Jim Payne.
The Benton Avenue viaduct begins as Benton Avenue but curves to the
southwest and becomes Kimbrough Avenue, signaling the end of Benton.