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    MoDOT Organization - Preliminary Studies
    Historic Bridges in Missouri

    There are about 23,400 bridges (and large culverts) in Missouri. 9, 400 are on the state highway system. Of the remaining 14,000 bridges, about 13, 500 are on county roads and about 500 are on city street systems.

    Of these, Clayton Fraser's draft 1996 Missouri Historic Bridge Inventory survey has evaluated almost 11,000 bridges and grade separations, encompassing several types erected before 1951: concrete slab, concrete girder, concrete arch, timber stringer, timber truss, metal stringer, metal girder, metal truss, metal arch, suspension, and masonry arch. Generally not included are railroad bridges, bridges in private ownership, and those that have been dismantled or permanently closed to vehicular traffic. About 400 bridges were evaluated as possibly eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. A few bridges are currently listed on the National Register.

    There are many notable historic bridges in Missouri but time and space limit the number that can be mentioned here.

    Built between 1867 and 1874, the Eads Bridge across the Mississippi at St. Louis is a nationally significant example of early bridge construction located at an important interstate crossing; and is one of America's most important spans. It was designed by James Buchanan Eads who had no formal education but a natural gift for engineering. The bridge was to fulfill an economic need for a major crossing at the City of St. Louis. The bridge is a magnificent series of wrought iron and steel deck arches with stone masonry approach spans and abutments, and piers with angled cutwaters.
    The Chouteau Bridge across the Missouri River in Kansas City consists of three 16-panel, pin-connected Whipple through trusses and a number of plate girder and steel stringer approach spans. Built between 1886 and 1887, this bridge is the last of the pinned Whipple trusses over the Missouri and is a nationally significant example of large river bridge construction in the 19th century. It was originally constructed as a railroad crossing but in 1953 the tracks were removed and the deck was converted to two-lane highway use.
    Four covered bridges are all that remain in Missouri of a once wide spread bridge building tradition. The Union Covered Bridge in Monroe county is the only wooden Burr arch truss; the other three are all Howe trusses which sometimes employ iron or steel vertical members. These are the Locust Creek Covered Bridge in Linn County, the Sandy Creek Covered Bridge in Jefferson County, and the Burfordville Covered Bridge in Cape Girardeau County.
    Bridge builder Joe Dice (1866-1947) built over thirty wire suspension bridges between 1895 and 1940. A throw back to the craftsman tradition of bridge building, Dice had no formal training in civil engineering and, in fact, no schooling beyond the fourth grade. In a reversion to the vernacular practices of the mid-19th century, Dice eschewed detailed structural analysis in designing his bridges. Referring only in passing to the contract drawings, he relied on empirical design principles and construction techniques developed in the success and failure of preceding structures. Today only ten of Dice's bridges remain in place, and display varying degrees of structural integrity.
    Built in stages between 1889 and 1911, the A.S.B. Bridge is a nationally significant example of an uncommon structural type. Its most striking feature is a rigid-connected, double-deck Baltimore vertical lift truss designed by J.A.L Waddell of Kansas City Missouri. The upper level supports a highway across the Missouri River while a lower level supports railroad tracks. The section of tracks in the main channel span can be lifted up into the superstructure to allow the passage of large boats and barges. The A.S.B. stands for Armor-Swift-Burlington. and is located in a highly industrial section of town.
    The Georgia City Bridge is the oldest extant all-metal vehicular bridge in the state. Built in 1871, it is a one span, 12-panel, bowstring arch truss, with three pin-connected Pratt pony truss approach spans and stone masonry abutments and piers. Being in poor condition and in danger of flood damage, the main span recently has been moved from its original location to Webb City, Missouri where it will be re-erected in King Jack Park.
    The Hargrove Bridge is a well-preserved and unique example of a small-scale movable truss. Built in 1916, it is a rigid-connected Pratt/Warren swing span with steel stringer approach spans. The center span pivots at the middle within a horizontal plane to allow passage of river traffic on either side.

    A Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) regarding historic bridges usually stipulates that some type of documentation be recorded. This can in the form of Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) documentation which will be entered into the Library of Congress, or Historic Preservation Program (HPP) documentation which will be placed in the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) library in Jefferson City, Missouri. The documentation for historic bridges usually takes the form of historic narratives, and construction plans are included when available. The researcher must first contact the HAER office of the National Park Service or the HPP in order to determine specifications for the documentation. In this way historic bridges may be "preserved on paper" even if there is no way to avoid removal or demolition. Sometimes documentation is required if the bridge is to be merely altered in some way, or if its view is to be obstructed by the construction of a new bridge.