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Railroad Electric Pole Along the Illinois and Michigan Canal
Walking along the I and M Canal path, one can often see the "modern" mode of transport the railroad. The railroad replaced the canal and eventually lead to its demise, so it's ironic to me that these two modes of transport are often right next to one another. It seems the railroad simply laid tracks next to the canal - how simple. A lot of the digging and blasting was already done for them, and towns sprouted up along the canal as it was built and used.
If you think about it, Rt. 6, and I-80 run pretty much parallel to the canal for a while, and the Stevenson Expressway (I-55) is built on the remains of the I and M Canal, so even modern car and truck traffic is following the same path dug by hand in the 1800's.