This bridge is known as the Chain of Rocks Bridge and was a toll bridge completed in 1929. It became a part of Route 66 in 1936 and was used until 1968 when the opening of the I-270 bridges caused a decline in traffic. Also adding to the decline of the bridge was the fact that it was just too narrow for modern automobiles and trucks. Plus, there is a 22-degree bend in the middle of the bridge (that allowed southbound riverboats to align with the current to avoid crashing into two water intake towers midstream) that was the site of many accidents.
The bridge was closed and sat abandoned for thirty-two years. It was slated for demolition in 1975 but the bad economic market for scrap metal in the mid-seventies rendered the project unprofitable. The bridge was eventually acquired by the city of Madison, Illinois and Trailnet Inc. which raised funds to repair and secure the old structure. It was reopened in 1999 as the Route 66 Bikeway. The one mile expanse is now only open to bicycle and pedestrian traffic and is the world’s longest pedestrian and bicycle bridge.
The bridge's name comes from a large shoal, or rocky rapids, called the Chain of Rocks which makes that part of the Mississippi dangerous to navigate. The bridge was added to the National Register of historic Places in 2006. It was featured in the 1981 movie “Escape From New York” as the 69th Street Bridge. It is a popular spot to watch for eagles during the winter when they congregate along the chain of rocks waterway. The bridge also developed a bad reputation for crimes and violence including a rape and murder while it sat unused.
Old Shot I found of the bridge around 1930.
These two gothic castle-like structures stand in the river just to the south of the bridge and serve as water intakes for the Chain of Rocks Water Treatment Facility, which opened in 1894 and is still in operation today.
Midway across the bridge can be found two signs placed back to back marking the boundary lines between the states of Missouri and Illinois. This is me leaning on one of them.
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