Saturday, October 23, 2010

Round Robin Photo Challenge ---Bridge

Welcome to this week's edition of Round Robin Photo Challenge. The subject is "Bridge" and the timing is perfect. Just so happens I recently got the chance to walk over one of those vast Cantilever-through-truss steel structures, built to allow motor vehicles to cross over one of the most beautiful sections of the Mississippi River between north St. Louis and Madison, Illinois.

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.

To check out all the great bridges or join the fun visit Round Robin Photo


  1. I enjoyed all these photos as well as the story. Thanks for letting me take a stroll across the Mississippi!


  2. Awesome bridge photos! So incredible and breathtaking! I really love your Route 66 sign bridge photo! Hubby and I recently took a short trip on part of the mother road in Oklahoma and Texas. I have several blog posts about that. Enjoyed visiting your blog and your post on bridges!

    from the Heart of Texas

  3. Thanks for the information so nice to know the history of a certain place or structure. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Such an interesting group of photos of the bridge. I also love the little pink bridge in the post following this!

  5. I actually thought the pink bridge in the entry before this was for the Round Robin and thought she got something no one else got! =) I'd still say you got something special here. What an awesome looking bridge with a rich history. Thanks for sharing. =)


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