What's happening now?
Currently, the Missouri Department of Transportation is starting environmental and historic preservation process on the Route 66 State Park Bridge, which runs between the Route 66 State Park and the park visitor's center. The bridge runs over the Meramec River and is not safe for pedestrians, cyclists or vehicles. You can find more details on the historic preservation process here.
MoDOT held an open house-style public meeting in September 2010 to share information about the preservation process and the timeline to make a decision on the next step for the Route 66 State Park Bridge.
Although the public meeting, and subsequent virtual public meeting have closed, the following information was presented during that meeting:
Fact Sheet on the Route 66 Meramec River Bridge Historic Preservation Efforts
PDF on the history of the Route 66 Meramec River Bridge
What is the problem with the bridge?
Consulting parties in the Historic Preservation Process
Timeline of Events
National Historic Preservation Act (Section 106) impact on the Route 66 Meramec River Bridge
What is the problem?
The bridge originally carried Route 66 over the Meramec River, near Times Beach. After the Environmental Protection Agency discovered dioxin at Times Beach, they relocated the residents and cleaned up the surrounding area. Once the clean-up was completed, the EPA turned the property over to the Department of Natural Resources, and it became the Route 66 State Park. Since the bridge no longer serves a town or city, MoDOT could not spend its limited resources on this bridge. However, the department has been working with the Department of Natural Resources and East-West Gateway to find another group or agency who was willing to accept liability and continue to maintain the bridge.
Since 2005, MoDOT has restricted the weight limit on the bridge in an effort to prolong the life of the bridge. In 2005, the weight restriction was set at 15 tons. In 2007, MoDOT had to restrict the bridge to vehicles of 10 tons or less, due to the bridge's deterioration condition. The bridge was also restricted to one lane at that time.In early 2009, MoDOT further restricted the bridge to vehicles of 5 tons or less, after an annual bridge inspection. After further review, MoDOT determined that it had to close the bridge to all traffic, including pedestrian and bicycle traffic, due to safety concerns.
What are the options?
Basically, there are two options currently available to the Missouri Department of Transportation:
- Find an organization that is willing to accept liability for the bridge, who would be willing to repair and maintain the bridge for the remainder of its life.
- Remove the bridge before it collapses under its own weight.
Is the bridge dangerous?
The bridge is not safe to use, which is why the Missouri Department of Transportation, in conjunction with the Department of Natural Resources and the Route 66 State Park staff, decided to close the bridge to all traffic.
Can I still get to the park?
Yes. People can still access the visitors center, and the other areas of the park. Use the attached map for directions.