Skip to main content

Old Chain of Rocks Bridge

One of the more interesting features that you can still explore along the former routing of old US Route 66 is the old Chain of Rocks Bridge. The old Chain of Rocks Bridge spans 5353 feet across and about 60 feet over the Mississippi River between St. Louis, Missouri, and Madison, Illinois. Constructed in 1927 and 1928, the bridge opened in 1929 and is named for the rocky shoals along this part of the Mississippi River. Because of these rocky shoals, the bridge has a 22-degree bend to accommodate boaters who had to navigate the Chain of Rocks around two water intake towers nearby. It was argued that navigation would have proven to be difficult if the original design for a bridge in a straight line had taken shape. The bridge had opened up in July 1929, over budget at $2.5 million, complete with beautiful landscaping on both ends of the bridge and a toll booth on the Missouri side of the river. By 1936, US 66 was routed onto the bridge.

In 1967, a new Chain of Rocks Bridge carrying I-270 over the Mississippi River just upstream from the old bridge leading to the old Chain of Rocks Bridge closing in 1968. During the 1970s, Army demolition teams were debating whether or not just to blow up the bridge for practice, and demolition of the bridge otherwise seemed imminent. If not for a downturn in the market for scrap metal, the bridge would have been lost. Instead, the bridge sat mostly idle for years. Yes, the Chain of Rocks Bridge was used for scenes in the film Escape from New York, but it was not until 1999 that the bridge reopened as part of the Route 66 Bikeway for use by pedestrians and cyclists thanks to the efforts of Trailnet, a St. Louis area bicycle and pedestrian advocacy group. Because the old Chain of Rocks Bridge has not been significantly altered over the years, it was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2006. Today, you can park on the Illinois end of the bridge and enjoy a leisurely stroll on the old Chain of Rocks Bridge, which includes some period pieces from old US Route 66.

Eastern end of the old Chain of Rocks Bridge in Madison, Illinois.
Historic US 66 sign.
And if you look closely, a faint US 66 shield design on the pavement.

Enjoying the bridge!
Water intake towers on the Mississippi River.

The Chain of Rocks are now controlled by dams.

The new Chain of Rocks Bridge to the north of the old bridge.

It was such a pleasant March day that some people wore shorts.

Looking at the Missouri end of the bridge.

The old bridge is a bit narrow, I think.

The St. Louis skyline in the distance to the south of the bridge, including the famous Gateway Arch and the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge, which carries I-70 across the Mississippi River.
A bike rack, presumably at the state line between Illinois and Missouri.

The US 66 inspired ends of the bike rack have seen better days.

A car for display is also on the bridge.

The famous 22-degree bend in the bridge as the bridge turns towards the Missouri bank of the Mississippi River.

Site Navigation:


Sources and Links:

How to Get There:

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Yes, the color of your nearby fire hydrant matters...

...and here's why. You will find White, Red, Yellow and Violet colored fire hydrants pretty much everywhere.  But there's a reason for this - and it's because of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).  This association has issued guidelines for color coding standards for fire hydrants.  These color codes from the body of the hydrant, top of the hydrant, and in some municipalities the outlet caps are designed to allow fire fighters to know what type of system, water flow rate (Gallons Per Minute or GPM), and level of water pressure.  This guideline is known as NFPA 291 and is intended to be used universally throughout the United States. The NFPA guidelines are specific to the body and the top cap of the hydrant.  If a hydrant is WHITE or YELLOW - it means that it is connected to a public/municipal water system.  If a hydrant is RED - the hydrant is connected to a private system, typically a well.  These are most common in rural or unincorporated areas

Phase 1 of the California State Route 132 West Expressway (in the making since 1947)

On September 15, 2022, the Phase 1 of the California State Route 132 West Expressway opened in the city of Modesto from California State Route 99 west to North Dakota Avenue.  Phase 1 of the California State Route 132 West Expressway was built upon a corridor which was tentatively to designated to become the branching point for Interstate 5W in the 1947 concept of the Interstate Highway System.  The present California State Route 132 West Expressway corridor was adopted by the California Highway Commission on June 20, 1956.  Despite almost being rescinded during the 1970s the concept of the California State Route 132 West Expressway corridor lingered on for over half a century and became likely the oldest undeveloped right-of-way owned by California Transportation Commission.  Pictured above is the planned California State Route 132 freeway west of US Route 99 in Modesto as featured in the May/June 1962 California Highways & Public Works.   The history of the California State Route

Aptos Creek Road to the Loma Prieta ghost town site

Aptos Creek Road is a roadway in Santa Cruz County, California which connects the community of Aptos north to The Forest of Nisene Marks State Parks.  Aptos Creek Road north of Aptos is largely unpaved and is where the town site of Loma Prieta can be located.  Loma Prieta was a sawmill community which operated from 1883-1923 and reached a peak population of approximately three hundred.  Loma Prieta included a railroad which is now occupied by Aptos Creek Road along with a spur to Bridge Creek which now the Loma Prieta Grade Trail.  The site of the Loma Prieta Mill and company town burned in 1942.   Part 1; the history of Aptos Creek Road and the Loma Prieta town site Modern Aptos traces its origin to Mexican Rancho Aptos.  Rancho Aptos was granted by the Mexican Government in 1833 Rafael Castro.  Rancho Aptos took its name from Aptos Creek which coursed through from the Santa Cruz Mountains to Monterey Bay.  Castro initially used Rancho Aptos to raise cattle for their hides.  Following