30 November 2011
Chain of Rocks
An old car sits on the deck of the old Chain of Rocks Bridge along Route 66 just north of downtown St. Louis, MO, at sunset.
Built to carry traffic across the Mississippi River and around the downtown bustle of St. Louis, MO, this bridge was the primary crossing along Route 66. A 22 degree bend in the center of the 5,353 foot span posed a continual navigational challenge for automobiles. The bend was originally designed to allow southbound riverboats to align themselves with the current, slide between the bridge’s piers, and avoid the midstream water intake towers that supply St. Louis with fresh water….quite the engineering feat for 1929.
Chain of Rocks earned it’s name from the rocky rapids that made this stretch of the Mississippi River extremely dangerous to travel. A low water dam has since been built to provide adequate depth for river traffic with the rocky shoal only partially visible, today, in low water periods.
The bend in the bridge, however, proved too be too much of an imposition for road traffic, and the bridge was permanently closed in 1967. The bridge feel into disrepair, and also became the location for several murders. Today, though, the Chain of Rocks Bridge is only open to foot and bicycle traffic thanks to the renovation of the area by a national trailway company’s efforts to preserve the site. It now serves as a monument to both modern engineering and The Mother Road, Route 66, and sits on the National Register of Historic Places.
(above text copied from my Flickr posting of the same picture)