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Unfortunately, HistoricBridges.org did not make it to Kansas City until 2016, which means that by that time, the older and more historic 1935 Fairfax Bridge which carried southbound US-69 traffic had already been demolished. Only the newer 1955-1957 Platte Purchase Bridge remained, with its replacement also under construction. The Platte Purchase Bridge was built to create a one-way couplet, with the Platte Purchase Bridge carrying northbound US-69 traffic
The Platte Purchase Bridge offered a good look at mid-20th Century cantilever truss bridge construction, and when its 1935 companion also existed, it provided a unique comparison to two eras of bridge construction. Featuring similar design, the two bridges displayed how fabrication details had changed over two decades, notably the decrease in use of lattice and v-lacing on built-up beams.
Unfortunately, while Missouri once had one of the most impressive and largest collections of cantilever truss bridges in the country, it is painfully clear that MoDOT seeks the destruction of nearly every historic cantilever truss bridge in the state (as well as other truss forms). As of 2017, this goal is alarmingly close to becoming reality. The rate and completeness of this destruction is remarkable... remarkably sad. Missouri leads the country in terms of high amount of historic bridge demolition with preservation/rehab examples (which are almost non-existent) being lower than other states, including states with far fewer historic bridges to begin with. One would think that with so many historic bridges Missouri would at least be able to save some of these bridges. This has not occurred however. The few preserved historic bridges are mostly municipal bridges in Kansas City and St. Louis for which MoDOT has no responsibility. At one time, Missouri shared its dubious distinction of destruction with Pennsylvania, another state noted for once-high populations of historic bridges, immense rates of demolition, and nearly non-existent preservation. However, Pennsylvania has demonstrated in recent years at least some modest effort to improve its reputation, Missouri has made no changes to its policy of unremitting destruction, despite "talk" of change. Talk doesn't count if it doesn't come with some actual tangible change, effort, and hopefully actual preservation outcomes.
The Section 106 Review for the replacement project provided the following historical context for the Platte Purchase Bridge:Because of its age, the Platte Purchase Bridge is not included in the 1996 "Missouri Historic Bridge Inventory" which only examines bridges and culverts built before 1951; therefore, like other cultural resources in the project area, its historical significance must be evaluated. The northbound Platte Purchase Bridge (A0450), as depicted in Figure 5-2) was built as a sister bridge to the Fairfax Bridge in 1957 to increase traffic flow across the river. Despite the twenty-three year gap in their creation, the two bridges appear like twins in scale, form, and materials --their central trusses aligning almost exactly when viewed in silhouette. Like the Fairfax Bridge, the Platte Purchase Bridge is comprised of 15 spans; however, it is seven feet longer, for a total length of 2,602 feet. Other differences are notable in the approach spans, roadway width, and substructure. The symmetry of the Fairfax Bridge design is echoed by the Platte's composition featuring five steel Warren trusses that range from 302 to 474 feet each. From south to north, the Platte Purchase Bridge consists of six (6) simple span, steel plate girders; one (1) 302' steel simple Warren through trusses forming the approach spans; three (3) rigid connected continuous cantilevered camelback steel Warren through trusses measuring 417, 474, and 417 feet respectively and creating the main channel span; one (1) 302' steel simple Warren through trusses; and four (4) simple steel wide flange girder approach spans. It is supported on two reinforced concrete abutments, wingwalls, eight bents, and six piers. The bridge is 25 feet 10 inches wide, curb-to-curb, and carries two lanes of one-way traffic. As with the Fairfax Bridge, the consulting engineers for the Platte Purchase Bridge were Sverdrup and Parcel, Inc., St. Louis, Missouri, while the Kansas City Bridge Co. was the bridge contractor. Similar to the Fairfax Bridge project plans created in 1933 for Regional Bridge Co., Inc., the 1956 plans for the new bridge identify the client as an entity other than a state highway department: Platte County, Missouri. The name plate design accompanying the bridge plans states, in part:
This historic bridge has been demolished. This map is shown for reference purposes only.
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