Wednesday, October 24, 2018

1944+1984+1990 I-255+US-50 Jefferson Barracks Bridge over Mississippi River near St. Louis

I don't normally do yet another steel tied-arch bridge, but when you get a view as unique as this, I went for it. This is "reverse railfan." Specifically, it is a photo from a train instead of a train. And at the bottom is some photos of the cantilever truss that it replaced.

William A. Shaffer posted
Jefferson Barracks Bridge - St. Louis, MO (5.11.13)
(Photo by William A. Shaffer)
William A. Shaffer posted
The Jefferson Barracks Bridge .(5.12.15)
South of St. Louis, MO
(Photo by William A. Shaffer)
This is a photo of the "new" Jefferson Barracks Bridge. The JB Bridge, as it is known locally, derives it name from a site nearby that was the Jefferson Barracks Army Training Camp. My Dad received his induction notice on New Year's Day, 1943 and reported to Jefferson Barracks. From there, he boarded a train out of St. Louis for Chicago. I believe he said the train terminated at Dearborn Station in Chicago, so he probably went up on the Wabash. Upon arrival at Chicago, he changed trains (and stations) and was shipped to Miami, FL. He recalled being up early each morning in Miami, marching on the Beaches. (The Beaches turned out to be a precursor of the Normandy Landing.). The Army, in their infinite wisdom, issued him the wrong size boots and when he brought this to their attention, they told him to keep moving. He ended up causing recurrent damage to his feet. But he never complained about the Army! That would have been unpatriotic.

The official name is Jefferson Barracks Bridge. The original truss bridge "was completed in 1944 as a war-time measure to allow the Illinois side better access to the western part of the St. Louis area." [Bridge Hunter comment]

This allowed easier access to the Jefferson Barracks. A 1702 acre parcel of land was established in 1826 as the first permanent military base west of the Mississippi River to protect pioneers of the Louisiana Purchase from the threats of Indians. It was the major training base for the Army Of The West from 1826 through the Civil War. A national cemetery was also created. On June 30, 1946, the army base was decommissioned.Today it is used by the National Guard and Army Reserve,  an expansion of the national cemetery, evidently a VA hospital, and a park and museum. [Historycem, John A. Weeks III]

William A. Shaffer posted
The Jefferson Barracks Bridge at St. Louis, MO
(Shot through the window of Amtrak #22 en route to St. Louis)
(Photo by William A. Shaffer)
By Service Depicted: Other ServiceCamera Operator: SSGT PAUL GRIFFIN - ID:DFST9500065, Public Domain, Link
Roads and farmland in St. Louis area are hard hit by floodwaters. Location: SAINT LOUIS, ILLINOIS (IL) UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (USA)

Westbound bridge built 1984; eastbound bridge built 1990, The navigation channel span is 910'.
May 1995 flood, Public Domain from Flickr
A new bridge was built next to the old one and then the old one was replaced by a second bridge.
Missouri State Archives from Flickr
The eastbound span of the Jefferson Barracks (I-255) bridge was opened in December 1990, not 1986. It was opened right around the time that Iben Browning predicted that there would be a major earthquake on the New Madrid Fault. It took some time to complete the eastbound span, as there were money and construction issues. They also dropped one of the horizontal steel members from the arch into the Mississippi River while it was being hoisted, and some time was lost while they retrieved it. I remember that there was a lot of talk at the time about how that earthquake (if it happened) might affect the new bridge. I do have some pictures of the old bridge alongside the new one while it was being build back in the early and mid-80's. The old Jefferson Barracks bridge was completed in 1944 as a war-time measure to allow the Illinois side better access to the western part of the St. Louis area. At that time, there were no bridges on the Mississippi River between the Chester (IL) bridge and the MacArthur Bridge in St. Louis and only a ferry at Davis Street in south St. Louis that crossed over to East Carondelet in Illinois. There was also a railroad ferry that operated between the Carondelet section of south St. Louis and the railyard at Dupo, Illinois that I believe stopped operation sometime in the 1950's. The old Jefferson Barracks was a toll bridge until 1959, when the bonds were paid off. It closed for good when the new bridge opened in 1984 and was eventually demolished. I remember there was a proposal to dismantle it and ship it to South American to be rebuilt somewhere (I never did hear what country was involved)there, but that obviously never came about. [Bridge Hunter comment by Al Bertram]
Vintage St. Louis & Route 66 posted two photos with the comment: "Then and Now - Jefferson Barracks Bridge 1941."
Chris Carter: Eastbound span opened in 1984 Westbound in 1990.
Renee McClenahan Gloeckner: We had to drive the old one for drivers ed it was a bit scary.


Karen Hodapp commented on the above post
Just sharing what's going on now--all for the good. Drive across it all the time, so am glad for all the improvements. Drove across the old, narrow, single bridge many times going down to college way back when--was very happy to see that one go down.
[According to some other comments, "silver" will be the new color.]

Jefferson Barracks Bridge
AB, search for "jefferson barracks"
Completion Date: 9/30/1983
This was a superstructure fabrication and erection contract for a 4,000' Mississippi River crossing, including a 910' box chord tied arch main span and steel plate girder approaches. This tied arch is one of the largest of its type in the USA.

Travis Roberts commented on the above post

The old bridge was a toll bridge until the bonds were retired in 1959.

Some photos of the previous bridge from the Bridge Hunter comments.



945 photo from Department of Transportation Collection at the Mo State Archives

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