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St. Louis and the surrounding metro area is easy to find on a satellite image because of its location at the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. Just as the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers have played a huge role in the city's history, so to have the cities bridges. The following is a list of the most notable and historic bridges in St. Louis and the surrounding area.
In St. Louis:
1.) The Eads Bridge is a marvel of engineering named after it's designer James Eads. It was completed in 1874 with a road deck and two rail lines, and is by far the oldest bridge in the St. Louis area. Today the bridge has a protected pedestrian walk next to the refurbished roadway that allows for spectacular views of the St. Louis skyline and the river traffic beneath. The two rail lines were adapted for use by the MetroLink light rail system. Rail stations are located on each end of the bridge.
2.) The Martin Luther King Bridge is a cantilever truss bridge constructed in 1951 as a toll bridge for the city of East St. Louis. At one point in its history, the bridge served as the Mississippi River crossing point for Route 66. The bridge began falling into disrepair after 1967 when the free-to-use Poplar Street Bridge opened. The tolls were eventually removed in 1987, and the bridge was repaired in 1989. It carries three lanes of vechile traffic, and provides an alternative access point to Interstate 70 for west bound travelers.
3.) The Poplar Street Bridge is the busiest bridge in St. Louis, serving as a river crossing for three interstate highways and a seperate U.S. Route. Completed in 1967, the bridge lacks any significant architectural features, and does not have any pedestrian access.
4.) The Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge is a cable-stayed bridge in the north part of St. Louis. It opened for use on February 9th, 2014, and is used for traffic on Interstate 70, eliminating the extra time and distrance travelers currently ecounter by having to use the Poplar Street Bridge. Visitors can see the striking white-colored spires of the bridge from various vantages points around the north St. Louis area. There is no pedestrian access to the bridge.
5.) The MacArthur Bridge lies south of the Poplar Street Bridge, and only carries railroad traffic. Construction on the bridge was started in 1909 by the city of St. Louis to break the Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis's
monopoly on the area's railroad traffic. Money ran out before the
bridge approaches could be finished, and the bridge did not
open until 1917, and then only to automobile traffic. At one time it carried Route 66 across the Mississippi. The MacArthur Bridge closed to vechile traffic in 1981 because of pavement deterioration . It is inaccessible to pedestrians.
In the Metro Area:
1.) The Clark Bridge in Alton, IL was built before, during, and partially after the Great Flood of 1993. The cable suspension bridge connecting Missouri and Illinois has its own Nova documentary entitled Superbridge. Try to catch a glimpse of it at night when the gold cables are illuminated.
2.) The old Chain of Rocks Bridge was part of Route 66. Its unique bend in the center and general narrowness eventually made it unsafe for vehicular traffic. It was closed in 1968 in favor of the safer but bland multi-lane Interstate-270 bridge. In the mid-1990's, a local organization named Trailnet began raising funds and generating support to refurbish the bridge for use as a connector between bikeways that were being created on both sides of the river. Today, their efforts have allowed visitors to once again safely use the bridge. In addition to being a connector for bikers and walkers, it is a good spot for eagle watching in winter.
3.) As mentioned above, the New Chain of Rocks Bridge currently carries Intersate-270 traffic across the Mississippi River, featuring two lanes of traffic in each direction. Much the Poplar Street Bridge, it's simple, utilitarian design lacks any notable features other than the fact the bridge is quite long. Crossing this bridge does offer views of the old Chain of Rocks Bridge, along with the sizeable sandbars on the north side of the bridge.
3.) The Page Avenue Bridge between St. Louis and St. Charles Counties was constructed recently, and includes a separate bike lane. Thanks to the forethought of those involved, the metro area is safely connected to the KATY Trail. A bench at a small lookout area midspan allows bikers and walkers to take in the view of the Missouri River below.
4.) The J.B. Bridge, formally called the Jefferson Barracks Bridge, is actually a pair of bridges that span the Mississippi River south of downtown St. Louis. Both bridges are 909-foot (277 m) long steel arch bridges. The first bridge was built in 1983, while the south bridge opened in 1992. The J.B. Bridge carries the traffic of Interstate 255.
5.) A new Chain of Rocks Canal Bridge is being in built in Granity City, Illinois to continue carrying the traffic on Interstate 270 across the canal that allows barges to bypass the Chain of Rocks on the Mississippi River. Expected completion date is Summer 2014.