The bridge was built in 1931 and originally carried the famous "Route 66" which makes the bridge historically significant for association with this important US highway. Technologically, the bridge is also noteworthy as a multi-span riveted deck truss. The bridge also includes a series of deck plate girder approach spans.
In 2009, the bridge was closed to traffic including pedestrian traffic. This was followed by an announcement that the bridge was planned for demolition and that the bridge was unsafe. In reality, the bridge is not in bad overall condition and preservation of the bridge should be considered both feasible and cost effective. The truss superstructure and the concrete substructure appear to be in decent condition. In 2013, the deck was removed from the bridge, but the rest of the bridge was left standing. Despite this, the remainder of the bridge is slated for demolition. This would be a huge waste of money, history, and a potentially functional crossing. At the very least, the bridge should be left standing in its current condition as a historic ruin. However it would be much nicer to see the bridge restored with a new deck on it. Depending on the goal and budget, a new deck could be a full deck for vehicular traffic, or it could also be a less expensive narrow deck just for non-motorized traffic. The narrow deck would actually be interesting for pedestrians because if done right, it would allow users to see the trusses as they walked over the bridge, something not normally possible on a deck truss. If redecked and reopened, the bridge would reconnect a couple parks that exist on either side of the river.
There has been a fair amount of public support for preserving this bridge, and a Facebook group was even formed.
The previous bridge at this location was a pin-connected through truss called the Votaw Bridge.
Information and Findings From Missouri's Historic Bridge Inventory
Discussion of Bridge
Situated some two miles east of Eureka, this dramatic structure carries Interstate Highway 44 over the Meramec River. Featuring a rare riveted deck truss, the superstructure is supported high above the river by concrete piers and abutments. The design for this three-span bridge was completed in the spring of 1931 by engineers for the Missouri State Highway Department as part of the improvements being made on U.S. Highway 66. A contract for the bridge's fabrication and erection was let that July to the Frazier-Davis Construction Company. Using steel components rolled by the Illinois Steel Company of Chicago, the contractors erected the bridge in 1931-32 for $133,592.99.
Virtually unchanged since its completion, the Meramec River Bridge continues to carry traffic in western St. Louis County. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, numerous through and pony trusses were built on roads and highways throughout Missouri. Deck trusses-in which the roadway is carried by the truss's upper chords-were built far less often. Never very common, this truss type has suffered attrition throughout the state, until only seven deck trusses are now listed in Missouri's Structure Inventory and Appraisal list. Significantly, all are located on the state highway system and were built in the 1930s. An important crossing of the Meramec River on Route 66, this three-span truss is both historically and technologically noteworthy-a regionally important remnant of early highway construction in the state.
Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes
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