MoDOT Truss Bridge to Be Removed

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Photo taken by James Baughn

1920s pony truss bridge with weird name to be demolished on March 12th despite location next to bike trail.

JEFFERSON CITY, MISSOURI- Potential owners have a week time to claim a historic bridge that is located next to the Missouri Department of Transportation complex in Jefferson Missouri before it is gone. Touted as the MoDOT Truss Bridge, this bridge spans Wears Creek at the Greenway Trail which splits the state facility into two. The bridge dates back to the 1920s and features a hybrid Warren pony truss bridge with riveted connections, with a length of 75 feet long. The structure had been rehabilitated in 1990, yet due to safety concerns, the bridge has been fanced off, despite the fact that the structure is located just off the bike trail. It had been used as a rest area, but state officials are concerned that the bridge has been vandalized and there are too many people loitering around. According to photos provided by bridgehunter.com, the structure appears to be in great shape and could be relocated to another spot where there is no danger of people possibly trespassing onto public property. In fact as the bridge is next to a bike trail, it could be repurposed to serve as a picnic area with information about the bridge’s history and its transportational heritage.  Sadly though, no one is listening and unless you contact MoDOT between now and 12 March by using this link:

 

http://www.modot.org/asp/request_information.shtml?comments

Then this bridge could pretty much be gone before Easter. Are there any suitors wishing to get a great steal there? 😉

 

 

Route 66 Gasconade River Bridge Rehabilitation Project Being Launched

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Photo taken by James Baughn

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HAZELGREEN, MO-  The North Skunk River Greenbelt Association (NSRGA)/ Workin’ Bridges has been given the green light by the Missouri Department of Transportation(MoDOT) for a conceptual agreement to begin the fundraising efforts to actually restore the Gasconade River Bridge at Hazelgreen, Missouri. A new by-pass bridge has been designed and will be constructed in 2018 which left the historic bridge at risk for demolition. The Rte 66 Gasconade River Bridge Guardians have lead the effort for preservation and MoDOT agreed to let the efforts begin to find the funding required. Let me be clear, the historic bridge is still at risk for demolition unless sufficient funding for restoration can be acquired in the next fourteen months.

The four spans of the Gasconade River Bridge include two Parker Trusses, one Pratt truss and a Warren Pony Truss, built in 1923 and designed by MoDOT engineers. A current engineering estimate by MoDOT estimated repair work at over $3 million dollars. The Workin’ Bridges qualified engineers and craftsmen will assess the bridge for possible phased options and costs that may differ from MoDOTs assessment. These real numbers, captured as Scope of Work and Estimates are required so that informed decisions can be made, for potential grants. Work with MoDOT on a risk management plan for their new bridge and the Interstate 44 bridge is being negotiated. We have proposed a Trust Account that would be in place for a catastrophic event, as well as utilizing the interest for future biannual inspections and site and security.

Developers are also being sought for this property and any design ideas are welcome. Route 66 has always been a mecca for travelers worldwide and with this bridge repaired the potential for crossing on special event days may still be an option as engineering will return the bridge to its former function. For more information on how the bridge was saved and how we are moving forward together check out Workin’ Bridges: Route 66 Bridge Rehab on Facebook

Our goal is to raise $10,000 in funds. Those funds are for engineering and planning. Jacqueline (Jax) Welborn has been designated the Project Manager. She will undertake the outreach for donors to help with the immediate engineering and planning needs for the bridge. Contact Jax at rte66bridgerehab@gmail.com or call her at 573-528-1292.

Then our efforts will turn to finding the pledges, grants and in-kind donations necessary to reach our $3.5 million dollar goal by December 31, 2018. That money will go to repairing the piers and abutments that hold the spans up, the stringer and roadway replacement, floor beam repair. The deck, or at least a portion of the deck will be removed by MoDOT using their demolition funds for that purpose. The lead paint abatement solution is still to be determined.

Those efforts are currently underway. NSRGA has begun the process to become a legitimate nonprofit corporation in Missouri, then the bank accounts will be procured. In the meantime you can still donate at Workin’ Bridges: Route 66 Bridge Rehab on Facebook. Your donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.

Other questions, please contact Julie Bowers at jbowerz1@gmail.com or 641-260-1262. Check out this project and others on Facebook at Workin’ Bridges, www.workinbridges.org and become a Save Our Bridge (SOB) action figure today.

This is a press released by Workin Bridges, who granted permission for reposting. A detailed interview about the Gasconade Bridge was done with the Chronicles and can be found here.

 

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Route 66 Gasconade River Bridge Rehabilitation Project Being Launched

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Photo taken by James Baughn

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HAZELGREEN, MO-  The North Skunk River Greenbelt Association (NSRGA)/ Workin’ Bridges has been given the green light by the Missouri Department of Transportation(MoDOT) for a conceptual agreement to begin the fundraising efforts to actually restore the Gasconade River Bridge at Hazelgreen, Missouri. A new by-pass bridge has been designed and will be constructed in 2018 which left the historic bridge at risk for demolition. The Rte 66 Gasconade River Bridge Guardians have lead the effort for preservation and MoDOT agreed to let the efforts begin to find the funding required. Let me be clear, the historic bridge is still at risk for demolition unless sufficient funding for restoration can be acquired in the next fourteen months.

The four spans of the Gasconade River Bridge include two Parker Trusses, one Pratt truss and a Warren Pony Truss, built in 1923 and designed by MoDOT engineers. A current engineering estimate by MoDOT estimated repair work at over $3 million dollars. The Workin’ Bridges qualified engineers and craftsmen will assess the bridge for possible phased options and costs that may differ from MoDOTs assessment. These real numbers, captured as Scope of Work and Estimates are required so that informed decisions can be made, for potential grants. Work with MoDOT on a risk management plan for their new bridge and the Interstate 44 bridge is being negotiated. We have proposed a Trust Account that would be in place for a catastrophic event, as well as utilizing the interest for future biannual inspections and site and security.

Developers are also being sought for this property and any design ideas are welcome. Route 66 has always been a mecca for travelers worldwide and with this bridge repaired the potential for crossing on special event days may still be an option as engineering will return the bridge to its former function. For more information on how the bridge was saved and how we are moving forward together check out Workin’ Bridges: Route 66 Bridge Rehab on Facebook

Our goal is to raise $10,000 in funds. Those funds are for engineering and planning. Jacqueline (Jax) Welborn has been designated the Project Manager. She will undertake the outreach for donors to help with the immediate engineering and planning needs for the bridge. Contact Jax at rte66bridgerehab@gmail.com or call her at 573-528-1292.

Then our efforts will turn to finding the pledges, grants and in-kind donations necessary to reach our $3.5 million dollar goal by December 31, 2018. That money will go to repairing the piers and abutments that hold the spans up, the stringer and roadway replacement, floor beam repair. The deck, or at least a portion of the deck will be removed by MoDOT using their demolition funds for that purpose. The lead paint abatement solution is still to be determined.

Those efforts are currently underway. NSRGA has begun the process to become a legitimate nonprofit corporation in Missouri, then the bank accounts will be procured. In the meantime you can still donate at Workin’ Bridges: Route 66 Bridge Rehab on Facebook. Your donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.

Other questions, please contact Julie Bowers at jbowerz1@gmail.com or 641-260-1262. Check out this project and others on Facebook at Workin’ Bridges, www.workinbridges.org and become a Save Our Bridge (SOB) action figure today.

This is a press released by Workin Bridges, who granted permission for reposting. A detailed interview about the Gasconade Bridge was done with the Chronicles and can be found here.

 

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Times Beach Bridge: Time Is Ticking for This Historic Bridge

EUREKA/ ST.LOUIS, MISSOURI-  When tourists think of or visit the US, one of the characteristics they will mention first is The Mother Road, also known as Route 66.  Ninety years ago this year, US 66 was established, connecting Chicago with Los Angeles, passing through St. Louis, Springfield, Tulsa, Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Flagstaff. It was part of the first national administration establishing the US Highway System, which was partially supplemented and partially supplanted by Eisenhower’s Interstate Highway Act, signed 30 years later. Five years after Route 66 was established, this bridge was built to accomodate traffic from this popular historic highway.  The Times Beach Bridge spans the Meramec River at Route 66 State Park near Eureka. Built in 1931 by the Frazier-Davis Construction Company of St. Louis, this riveted Warren deck truss span, based on the state standardized truss bridge design, features three main spans of 130 feet each, plus multiple approach spans, totalling 1009 feet with a roadway width of 30 feet.  Once serving US 66 until it was realigned onto neighboring I-44, the bridge used to serve traffic until the Missouri Department of Transportation(MoDOT) closed the structure in 2009. The bridge’s decking has been absent since 2013. And its future is questionable.

The Great Rivers Greenway district, consisting of local and regional organizations and volunteers in and around St. Louis and the surrounding area, is working on a project to repurpose the Times Beach Bridge into a recreational crossing, while at the same time, incorporate it into the adjacent Route 66 State Park and into a bike trail network which would extend to St. Louis to the east.  Trailnet and other organizations are helping Great Rivers in the push to save this bridge. Already, a study was conducted to determine its feasibility as a bike and pedestrian crossing, and some images of the bridge after its restoration have been presented on their website (click here). “This bridge is not only a significant and vital connection across the Meramec for walking and biking, but it is rich with history and one of the region’s outstanding cultural assets,” said Ralph Pfremmer, Trailnet’s Executive Director, according to its website. “It is prudent to seek funding, considering the generous commitment made on behalf of Great Rivers Greenway and the work already achieved on behalf of the coalition.”

Currently, the bridge is under ownership of MoDOT, and the consortium  needs to raise $1 million by 31 December, 2016 before ownership can be transferred to the state park. Additional funding will be sought to rehabilitate the structure and reopen it to recreational use. Currently, $425,000 has been allocated by MoDOT ($325,000) and the State Park System ($100,000), while $6,000 has been raised privately. $569,000 is needed before ownership can be transferred on 31 December. Failure to achieve this goal will result in the project being scrapped and the historic bridge being demolished early next year.

Several key bridges along US 66 have been restored or are scheduled to be restored in the coming years in an attempt to preserve the relects of the historic highway as memorials of the highway’s existence. They include the Chain of Rocks Bridges along the Mississippi River and its eastern channel in St. Louis, Bird Creek Bridge in Oklahoma,  Colorado Boulevard Bridge in Los Angeles, Devils Elbow Bridge, Gasconade River Crossing (both in Missouri), and the drawbridges in Chicago, just to name a few. For these bridges, problems involving ownership and liability combined with fundraising efforts were also typical at first. Yet because of their connections with the history of the communities, the Mother Road and American infrastructure, locals, historians and businesses contributed their finances, manpower and expertise to restore these structures for future use, many of them have been repurposed for trail use, while ones, like the Bird Creek Crossing were relocated and repurposed as memorials.  A book was recently written about these crossings which provides background information on how they contributed to making US 66 a great highway to travel on. It can be ordered here.

Still, there is a long way to go before reaching the goal of $1 million, yet the goal is doable and there is enough time to contribute what you can to save this bridge. If you or someone or some business you know would like to contribute to the cause, click on this link and donate.  The Times Beach Bridge is one of only four of its kind left in Missouri, but one that was part of a popular highway that people in the USA and around the world have seen and/or even travelled on. The bridge belongs to a historic site that many people would like to know more about. Let’s make America great again and donate to this bridge and preserve it, along with the rest of history along the Mother Road.

Check out the photos taken by the author during the 2011 Historic Bridge Weekend below:

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Fairfax and Platte Purchase Bridges Coming Down

Fairfax (left) and Platt Purchase (right). Photo taken by James Baughn in Aug. 2011

KANSAS CITY-  The Kansas City Royals baseball team finally snapped out of their doldrums this year and not only reached the playoffs in Major League Baseball for the first time since 1985, but was two runs shy of winning their first World Series in 29 years.  Yet the city has lost over half its pre-1945 bridges during that time span. With the Fairfax and Platte Purchase Bridges coming down this year, the trend seems to be continuing without slowing down.

Work is underway to replace the twin cantilever Warren through truss bridges that span the Missouri River, carrying US Hwy. 69 from I-635 in Kansas City into Wyandotte County Kansas. The spans feature a southbound span built in 1935 and a northbound span built 22 years later. Specifically, here are some details about the bridges:

Photo taken by the author in August 2011

Fairfax Bridge:

Location: Missouri River at US Hwy. 69 southbound

Built: 1935 by the Kansas City Bridge Company

Length: 2,594 feet total; largest span is 470 feet

Width: 20 feet

Last rehabilitated: 1979

Photo taken by the author in Aug. 2011

Platte Purchase Bridge:

Location: Missouri River at US 69 northbound

Built: 1957 (presumably by the same company)

Length: 2,601 feet; largest span is 474 feet

Width: 25.9 feet

Last rehabilitated: 1997

The plan is to replace the twin spans with one span that will accommodate six lanes of traffic. The project has already started with the southbound lanes being shifted onto the Platte Purchase Bridge and the Fairfax Bridge being demolished first. As soon as the new bridge is completed by late 2016, the Platte Purchase Bridge will follow suit. Both of the bridges, which had once collected tolls until 2000, had been made available for taking by the Missouri Department of Transportation until May of this year, when no takers were announced and the decision was made to turn these beautiful spans into a pile of scrap metal. The Fairfax Bridge, named after the city in Kansas, had been considered eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places The Platte Purchase Bridge was named after the Platte Purchase of 1836, where Missouri annexed the northwestern part of the state along the Missouri River up to the Iowa border, including the suburbs that belong to Kansas City today. That purchase was in violation of the Missouri Compromise of 1820, which drew the border between the free states and territories of the north and those of the south, including Missouri. Yet the two are the latest casualties of truss bridges along the Missouri River that are dwindling rapidly in numbers. Since 1990, over 80% of the pre-1950 bridges along the second longest waterway in the United States have been replaced with only a handful of examples being kept for recreational and historic purposes. This includes the Paseo Bridge, located downstream in Kansas City. The 1950 suspension bridge over the Missouri River carrying I-29 was replaced by the Christopher Bond Bridge in 2010 and later removed. While Kansas City still has a large number of historic bridges, including those along the Missouri and Kansas Rivers, as will be shown in the Chronicles’ tour guide, the numbers are decreasing. And with the Fairfax and Platte Purchase Bridges coming down within the next two years, we could see numerous other examples being torn down in favor of modern but bland structures less appealing to travelers and tourists. While the Royals may have woken up after a long sleep and suddenly become contenders again, it is time for the rest of the city to wake up, look at their heritage and see to it that some of it is saved before it is too late- before we can only see them on youtube videos, as seen below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-mBydOiZ02g

More on the bridge replacement project can be found here.

 

The 3rd Annual Historic Bridge Conference: Missouri

The Gateway Arch in St. Louis: The starting point of the westward movement was also the starting point of the 2011 Historic Bridge Conference

 

After having the first two historic bridge conferences in Pittsburgh in 2009 and 2010, the third annual conference took place in Missouri during the weekend of 12-14 August. Missouri, like its East Coast counterpart is dealing with a dwindling number of historic bridges, as the number of these artifacts have dropped by as many as 60% within the past 10 years with more scheduled to come down in the coming two years, especially those spanning the Missouri River between St. Louis and Kansas City. However, unlike Pennsylvania, there is a glimmer of hope for some of the structures that are slated for replacement as the private and public sectors (the latter in particular with the Missouri Department of Transportation) are working together to find new ways of using them for recreational purposes as they cannot handle the increasing number, size and weight of today’s traffic anymore. The question is since the involvement of the public sector in these efforts is very recent, whether the help will come too little too late….

As many as 60 people attended the three-day event, hosted by James Baughn of the Historic Bridges of the US website based in Cape Girardeau (MO) with assistance from Todd Wilson of Bridgemapper.com out of Pittsburgh (PA), Kris Dyer of the Save the Riverside Bridge Initiative located in Ozark (MO) and Jason  D. Smith of the Bridgehunter’s Chronicles based in Erfurt, Germany (part of areavoices.com), as the event went across the state starting with Friday’s events in St. Louis.  A highlight of the weekend events are below:

12 August:  The event started with a gathering of bridge enthusiasts and many guests at the Gateway Arch, located next to the Eads Bridge. Named after the engineer who designed it James Eads, the structure is unique because the metal deck arch bridge, built in 1874, was the first all steel bridge to be constructed in the United States . The bridge was recently renovated in 2003 in a way that the upper deck now serves local traffic and the lower deck carries metro lines.

Using the bridge as the starting point, the tour continued with the visit to all of the bridges along the Mississippi River in downtown St. Louis, which included the Merchant’s, McKinley, and Chain of Rocks Bridges. The third bridge, together with  the one spanning the Canal west of the mighty river were once part of the old US Hwy. 66 (a.k.a. the Mother Road or Main Street USA), which ran from Chicago through St. Louis enroute to Los Angeles.  Rain and thunderstorms shortened the bridgehunting tour  with many bridge enthusiasts taking cover underneath the  Chain of Rocks Canal Bridge. While it dampened  the tour, the rain was much-needed for  much of the region was extremely dry for two months straight after a extremely wet spring which saw the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers flood its banks in the region, wreaking havoc in the low lying areas, much of which is still under water at the time of this entry.

Eads Bridge with Lewis and Clark (and their companion) under water. While the two explorers of the Great Northwest would admire the uniqueness of the bridge, they would be scratching their heads at the weather the Missourians and those living along the Missouri River have been experiencing as of late

The Old Chain of Rocks Mississippi River Bridge- once part of Route 66, the bridge is now part of a network of bike and pedestrian trails serving the city and areas along the mighty river

The event ended with a dinner at the Veritas Cafe and Wine Bar in Chesterfield, located in the western part of St.Louis, which featured various goodies, a assortment of wine, a raffle drawing for bridge-related prizes, and a little show and tell by the presenters of the evening.  Among those presenting were Ed Darringer of Rush Co., Indiana, who talked about the Moscow Covered Bridge and its successful reconstruction efforts, which he photographed and documented in a book published this year. The 345 foot long covered bridge was destroyed by a tornado on 3 June, 2008, and it took two years to salvage parts of the structure and rebuild it to exactly match it to the one originally built in 1886.  The efforts received some much-needed support by Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, who vowed not to use taxpayer’s dollars on this project which had personally affected him.

The second presenter was Julie Bowers of Workin’ Bridges, an organization based out of Grinnell, Iowa that focuses on saving and relocating historic bridges. It was established as the Skunk River Greenbelt Association and was in connection with the collapse of the McIntyre Bridge, an 1883 bowstring arch bridge built by the King Bridge Company in Cleveland, OH that fell into the water during the flood of 2010. A section of the bridge was presented by Ms. Bowers prior to the presentation, and the main goal is to salvage and rebuild that bridge at its original location while at the same time, relocate another bridge, the Upper Bluffton Bridge in Winneshiek County to a wildlife refuge area for reuse. An article about the Upper Bluffton Bridge can be found here:

http://thebridgehunter.areavoices.com/2011/06/28/upper-bluffton-bridge-is-on-the-move/

A small show and tell moment: A piece of a horizontal beam from the McIntyre Bridge which broke off when the structure was washed into the river in 2010. Courtesy of Julie Bowers of Workin Bridges

The third and final presenter was Jason D. Smith of the Bridgehunter’s Chronicles, whose topic was on the Public Perception of Preserving Places of Historic Interest between Germany and the US, using the preservation laws in Thuringia and Schleswig-Holstein and historic bridges as case studies. A detailed version of this topic will be posted in a later article.

13 August: The second day of the conference started off with a grand tour of the historic bridges along the Mother Road, first stopping off at the Meramec Crossing and the state park which uses the riveted Warren deck truss structure as the centerpiece. The bridge was completed in 1931, five years after the US Highway System was introduced and Route 66 was designated. It served traffic until 1951 when the highway’s successor, I-44 was built and the bridge was used to serve westbound traffic until the new eastbound bridge was built in 1968 and the structure was reverted to local traffic. It was completely closed to traffic in 2009 due to structural concerns. Efforts are now being made to market the bridge to a private owner, who will have the responsibility of rehabilitating it for recreational purposes, with MoDOT being the lead agent.  This is the first time the governmental agency has been involved in this process, since it had been known  for closing and condemning historic bridges, according to various sources closest to the historic bridge community. After the presentation, the tour was directed at bridges like the Devil’s Elbow Bridges in Pulaski County, Bird’s Nest (Crawford Co.) and Boeuf Creek (Frankin Co.) Bridges (just to name a few of the dozen bridges that were visited by the bridge enthusiasts).  Optional trips included the one to Enochs Knob Bridge in Franklin County, a 1908 pin-connected steel Parker through truss bridge with a history of ghost stories and tragedies and one which is a target for replacement with a concrete slab bridge even though the road is rarely used. Molly Hill is leading the effort to preserve the structure in its place, even though it has been barricaded  recently and it now takes 10 minutes (or 1/4 mile) to walk to the bridge.

Have you hugged or kissed a bridge lately? Molly Hill definitely showed her love for the Enochs Knob Bridge, which she is fighting to save the structure and its history from becoming victim of modernization

Enochs Knob Bridge: Despite the bridge being closed off, a ten minute walk is well worth the sight.

 

The other side  trip was to the bridges in Christian County south of the city of Springfield, where a tour took place beginning at the Riverside Bridge in Ozark. That bridge is the focal point of efforts being undertaken to reuse the bridge as a bike trail. Despite damage to the flooring and lots of debris caused by the flooding this past spring, the structure remains in fairly good condition. Other bridges included on the tour were the McCracken/Ozark Mill and Bridge, Green/Symra Road Bridge and the Red Bridge. The tour attracted many people from the region and reunited two friends who hadn’t seen each other since their days in college, a span of 13 years.  That evening, a benefit for the Riverside Bridge took place at the Ozark Community Center, which included a silent auction and four presentations. Jason D. Smith of the Bridgehunter’s Chronicles emceed the event.  As many as 40 people attended the event, including Ozark’s mayor and Christian County commissioner Lou Lapaglia, who donated money to the coordinator of the event, Kris Dyer, who also is director of the Save the Riverside Bridge organization.  She was the first to present the plans of how to incorporate the bridge into the city’s bike trail system. It was then followed by Bill Hart of the Missouri Preservation organization, who talked about the objective and successes of this important actor in preserving historic bridges in the state. James Baughn followed with his presentation on his website and the state of historic bridges in Missouri, with Todd Wilson closing out the evening with providing hope to the preservation of truss bridges in the US, using the Riverside Bridge as a case study. The benefit itself was a smashing success as it raised over $1600 (without the costs relating to the benefit, it totaled over $2000) for the project. There’s still time to help support the project, as you can see in the link below.

http://thebridgehunter.areavoices.com/2010/11/21/riverside-bridge-in-christian-county-missouri-the-attempt-to-preserve-it-for-the-next-generation/

 

14 August:  The third and final day of the conference took the enthusiasts to Kansas City and places to the north and west, although a pair of stops at the Papinville (Bates Co.), Young’s Ford (Vernon Co.) and Caplinger Mill (Cedar Co.) Bridges were included in the itinerary. Some of the bridges that were seen in Kansas City included the Intercity Viaduct, a double decker Warren deck truss bridge, whose lower deck is now a bike trail while the upper deck still serves traffic today.  There is also the Christopher Bond Bridge, which carries I-29 and 35 as well as US Hwy. 71. Both span the Missouri River.  The Twelfth Street Viaduct, which spans the railroad year is the only concrete viaduct, whose main span features a concrete arch.  Then there is  the ASB Bridge, the only bridge in the world whose lower deck can be raised to accommodate boat traffic. That deck is still being used by the BNSF Railways today, while the upper deck, which used to serve local traffic has long since been removed  thanks to the opening of the Heart of America Bridge in 1985. This unique contraption was the work of J.A.L. Waddell, a world renowned civil engineer from Ontario, Canada, who was a harsh critic of other truss designs during his day but invented  his own truss style with the Waddell A-frame truss bridge. There is only two Waddell through truss bridges left in the US, one of which can be seen  at the English Landing Park in Parkville. Unfortunately, due to recent flooding along the Missouri River, the park is still completely closed off to all tourists as parts of the area are still under water at the time of this entry.

Congregating on the Caplinger Mill Bridge in Bates County

Papinville Bridge south of Kansas City at its best during the visit.

 

The flooding, which was caused by excessive rains and a late spring thaw in the Rocky Mountains (where the Missouri River starts its journey) delayed construction of many bridge replacements  along and in the vicinity of the Missouri River.  This included the Amelia Earhart Bridge in Atchinson, Kansas, a continuous through truss bridge built in 1937 and was scheduled to be taken down once the new structure was completed this fall. This seems to be unlikely as many roads are still under water. It also includes the Rulo Bridge in Rulo, Nebraska, which was completed in 1936 and has a design similar to its counterpart downstream.  While much of the town is high and dry, parts of the low lying area are underwater, and the Missouri side represents the Red Sea, which not even Moses can divide up.  Much of the flooding has affected the areas east of the Missouri in parts of Missouri and Iowa cutting small towns off from the outside world and shutting down I-29 between Omaha and Kansas City, rerouting the whole stretch starting at I-80 east to Des Moines and then south on I-35, which also leads to Kansas City. While flooding will result in billions of dollars worth of lost revenue, it did delay the inevitable for the two aforementioned bridges as they will most likely remain up until at least the middle part of next year.

Overall, the historic bridge conference was indeed a success, even more so than last year’s event in Pittsburgh in a way that for the first time, it drew interest from the public sector for they are interested in ways historic bridges can be preserved.  While most of the presentations given at the 2010 conference consisted of proposals in joint cooperation between the public and private sectors, ways of converting a saved bridge into recreational use and ways of detecting and fixing problems on bridges per se, this year’s conference presented some practical experiences that have been made or are being made. Given the fact that there are many ways to initiate projects through cooperation plus there are examples of historic bridges that have been saved for reuse for recreation, this year’s conference has increased the interest from the public in general in preserving these artifacts for future use in a way that the resources, the contact people with experience in preserving bridges and the interest in historic bridges and ways to preserve them are there. It is more of a question of putting aside the differences and excuses and moving forward and saving the relicts of the past so that the next generation can take advantage of what is there and learn a bit about historic bridges, how they are associated with the community and how they are connected with American history not only with regard to the Industrial Revolution but also the social aspect and how the people constructed them to accomodate traffic and transport people and goods from A to B. While Kris Dyer is making waves throughout the county with the efforts to save the Riverside Bridge in her community and Molly Hill is starting her campaign to save the Enochs Knob Bridge ignoring her own opposition from those who want the structure and its ghosts buried, others who may not have heard about historic bridges until this year’s conference will most likely jump on the bandwagon with their own bridges that are targeted for demolition and replacement, for as Todd Wilson mentioned in his presentation: “Any bridge that is not saved will disappear in a short time.” To add to his comment, the public will regret this action in the long term as they will only read about it in the history books at the local library, which is becoming less common in the face of the internet.

The stats are clear in Missouri as well as in the US. The question is, how many bridges, like the truss bridges, can be saved before they are gone forever? Todd Wilson (who presented this) doesn’t know nor does the author, but it could be soon if action is not taken.

Note: The 2012 Historic Bridge Conference has not been planned yet, but speculation is that either Iowa or Indiana will be the next venue. Indiana has had a history of successful preservation of historic bridges, including the Tripple Whipple Bridge over Laughery Creek in Dearbown County, the only truss bridge in the country that has such a unique design. It also has the Wabash and Erie Canal bike trail  where historic bridges can be found on this route, including one of only two Stearns Truss Bridge in the country (the Gilmore Bridge). However in Iowa, there is the historic bridge park at Tiffin near Iowa City (an article will precede this one), bowstring arch bridges throughout the state including Crawford and Winneshiek Counties, and the Kate Shelley Viaduct  near Boone, which will turn 100 years old next year. Furthermore, barring any unforeseen circumstances, the Sutliff Bridge in Johnson County may be rebuilt in time for its reopening next summer. The three span Parker through truss bridge lost one of its spans during the 2008 Flood and is currently being rebuilt thanks to support from the county and the Sutliff Bridge Authority. The plan is to have one of the states host the event in 2012 and the other in 2013. If you have a preference for where the 2012 Historic Bridge Conference should be hosted, please contact Jason Smith of the Bridgehunter’s Chronicles at JDSmith77@gmx.net.

Enjoy the following links and photos below:

Links:

Platte Purchase and Firfax Bridges in Kansas City: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=52G6MCWokRw

US 66 Meramec River Bridge near Wildwood: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cnge9BHOoaM

Enochs Knob Bridge in Franklin Co.: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lHk9Y7-c-qI

Red Bridge in Christian Co: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M-6QPgWq8yo

Chain of Rocks Bridge in St. Louis: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Tfp2GKSK8U

McKinley Bridge in St. Louis: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UKoorKAmyvw

Eads Bridge in St. Louis: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8UJ7KvIJM0

Photos:

Bridge experts and enthusiasts at the US 66 Meramec Crossing west of St. Louis

 

A large audience listens to one of the presentations given at the Riverside Bridge Benefit at the Ozark Community Center on 13 August

 

A truck crosses the Green Bridge in Christian County as tourists look on. This was taken during the tour of the Christian County Bridges on 13 August

 

The coordinators of the 2011 Historic Bridge Conference from left to right: Todd Wilson, James Baughn, Kris Dyer and Jason Smith

J.A.L. Waddell’s ASB Bridge over the Missouri River in Kansas City- the only bridge in the world whose bottom deck lifts up in hydraulic motion when the ships pass underneath it. Still in service.

Twelfth Street Viaduct with a BNSF train passing through. Viaduct spans a railroad yard in Kansas City.

Evidence of the Spring Floods of 2011 can still be seen with lots of downed trees and other debris careening underneath the Platte River Railroad Bridge in Platte Co., Missouri. Bridge was not affected by this and is still in service.