The Chester Bridge has two 11-foot lanes and carries 7,000 vehicles per day. It connects the cities of Chester, Illinois and Perryville, Missouri across the Mississippi River via Route 51.

The current truss bridge was originally constructed in 1942 and was re-constructed in 1944 after a severe storm destroyed the main span. The bridge has allowed motorists to travel both east and west across the Mississippi River for 80 years. 

Over the course of eight decades, the Chester Bridge has become less functional for modern vehicles. Although the bridge is safe for travel, this aging structure is considered to be in poor condition. MoDOT is continuing to monitor the bridge. The last inspection occurred in the fall 2021.

The Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission approved an amendment to the FY2022-2026 Statewide Transportation Improvement Program to fund the Chester Bridge Replacement Project (J9P3857) during its meeting on Sept. 9, 2021. In addition, the MHTC approved the Southeast District's proposal to complete the Chester Bridge Replacement Project using the design-build project delivery method. The design-build method will allow industry input on both the design and construction of this work.

Project Goals

  • Replace both structures within the project budget using durable 100-year, low maintenance structure(s). 
  • Provide a safe and reliable transportation solution for all modes of transportation.     
  • Complete the project no later than December 1, 2026 with the least impacts to all modes of transportation.
  • Deliver the project safely while utilizing a diverse workforce.          
Counties Impacted
Project Status
Planning Phase


Environmental Assessment Reevaluation
Comment Period: April 26 - May 27, 2022
Request for Letters of Interest for Design-Build Services
May 11 - June 13, 2022
In Progress
Issue Request for Qualifications
June 16, 2022
Host Industry Meeting
June 16, 2022
Chester Bridge Community Briefing
June 23, 2022

News Release  I  Handout  I  Map  I  Displays

The open-house style meeting will be held on June 23 from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Perryville Higher Education Center, 108 Progress Dr, Perryville, Missouri.

Request for Proposal
August/September 2022

Chester Bridge Rehab

Work to rehabilitate the Chester Bridge will soon get underway. The upcoming maintenance project will include pavement rehab and some minor structural steel repairs.

As work is underway, Route 51 will be reduced to one lane with a 10-foot width restriction in the vicinity of the bridge. Temporary signals will be in place to guide motorists through the work zone. Weather permitting, work will begin Tuesday, July 5, with completion anticipated Thursday, Dec. 1.

The width restriction will mean large equipment, such as combines, will be unable to cross the bridge during the rehab project.

“The Missouri Department of Transportation will allow large equipment to pass once during construction. We plan to make the bridge available at full width for 72 hours,” said Chester Bridge Deputy Project Director Benji Philpot. “Once the date is set, MoDOT will provide notice two weeks in advance.”

Philpot explained although the structure is safe for travel, it is in poor condition.

“The rehab work will help improve the existing bridge as the project team prepares for the replacement project,” he said.

Traffic will continue to use the existing structure as the new Chester Bridge is under construction. The project team is currently working through the design-build process.

The work zone will be marked with signs. Motorists are urged to use extreme caution while traveling near the area.

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Visit the link below to learn more about the Chester Bridge. This provides an in-depth look at some of the most frequently asked questions regarding what’s next and the proposed replacement project.

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The Chester Bridge is a truss bridge originally constructed in 1942 to allow vehicles to cross the Mississippi River between Perryville, Missouri and Chester, Illinois without using a ferry. 

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For More Information

Contact Photo
Brian Okenfuss
Chester Bridge Project Director
Southeast District
Contact Info

(573) 258-9144


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Benji Philpot
Benji Philpot
Chester Bridge Deputy Project Director
Southeast District
Contact Info

(573) 472-5371