ST. LOUIS - The Missouri Department of Transportation will permanently close the Old Route 66 Bridge in Route 66 State Park Thursday, Oct. 29, after the department's annual inspection and analysis showed the bridge was no longer capable of supporting traffic. MoDOT owns the bridge and inspected it annually to ensure public safety. The Missouri Department of Natural Resources operates the park and used the bridge as the main corridor for park visitors traveling between the east and west sections of Route 66 State Park. The bridge crosses the Meramec River on the I-44 north outer road near Eureka.
About 400 vehicles used the bridge daily. In 2007, MoDOT permanently restricted traffic on the bridge to one lane after its annual inspection, and restricted traffic to five tons or less earlier this year. The bridge will now be closed to all traffic, including vehicle, bicycle, pedestrian and equestrian traffic.
All other facilities at the park remain open. The roadhouse along Route 66, built in 1935, now serves as the park's visitor center. Day-use facilities at the park include walking, bicycling and equestrian trails, picnic areas, a playground and a boat ramp for access to the Meramec River.
Visitors wanting to use the day-use facilities will now access the west end of the park by using Williams Road at Exit 265 from eastbound Interstate 44. People wanting to access the visitor center can continue to do so from Lewis Road Exit 266. Signs will be posted on Interstate 44 to inform visitors about the new access.