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US-66 Meramec River Bridge

Times Beach Bridge

US-66 Meramec River Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: November 3, 2013

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Historic US-66 (Old Alignment) Over Meramec River
Location
Times Beach: St. Louis County, Missouri: United States
Structure Type
Metal 12 Panel Rivet-Connected Warren Deck Truss, Fixed and Approach Spans: Metal Deck Girder, Fixed
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1931 By Builder/Contractor: Frazier-Davis Construction Company of St. Louis, Missouri and Engineer/Design: Missouri State Highway Commission

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
132 Feet (40.2 Meters)
Structure Length
1,009 Feet (307.5 Meters)
Roadway Width
30 Feet (9.14 Meters)
Spans
3 Main Span(s) and 9 Approach Span(s)
NBI Number
5387

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
View Information About HSR Ratings

Bridge Documentation

This bridge's future is at risk!

Bridge Status: This historic bridge is slated for demolition for no reason despite organized opposition from the public!

View Archived National Bridge Inventory Report - Has Additional Details and Evaluation

View The National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form For This Historic Bridge

View The Original Site Plans and Original Shop Plans For This Historic Bridge

View MoDOT Historical Documentation For This Bridge

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

View Original PDF Historic Bridge Inventory Sheet

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Maps and Links: US-66 Meramec River Bridge

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