I just drove my 40 ton 18 wheeler over this bridge earlier tonight for the first time. I remember the first time I tried to cross it was closed. I was nervous crossing it... especially when I noticed another 18 wheeler crossing in the opposite direction! Not sure how we both got past each other without losing our mirrors!
Wow, I just found this site. So great to read all the post of people crossing this Great bridge. I am in the middle of writing my third book and wanted to know the history of it. Thank you all and to those who had kin folks who worked on it. And I too have had some great rides over it. My family came from Arkansas. And when I was just about 2 1/2 years old we went to Michigan for the first time. Of course I don't recall that first trip. But I sure do the many times we did. We had gone to Michigan because my father had heard that there was many jobs available. My father was a farmer and a great carpenter. At first he and my mom did work on farms. But they wanted to buy their own farm. They also found out that it was hard to save money to go back to see their families. So They saved their money and Dad found job at a steal foundry. He worked there till he retired. When I was just 5 years old they found their small 10 acres farm. We started making trips every year. We always had to wait till school was out and the crops planted. By this time Dad had earned a weeks vacation each year. And we always crossed this bridge. Dad had a dream of going to every state in the union. He and mom almost made that dream, but Dad started having heart problems. So now I too have that dream. But I only have two more states to go. I will fulfill his dream for both of us. But about this bridge, I was never afraid to ride across it. But I did fear of being the driver. So I was able to take pictures after I was married and ask my husband the first year to take be back and to see my grandmother and cousins. We would leave right after Dad got off work. Most times we would drive all night. As a kid I had never stayed in motel. We couldn't afford it. Most of us would be asleep and as soon as we got to Cairo my dad would pull off the road and let us get out of the car for a few min. To make sure we were awake. I remember sometimes we would sing as we crossed. My Dad was also a preacher and we would sing church songs most of the time. My mom loved the one called. When We Agentt to Heaven. And we all loved we'll Fly Away. Dad would joke some about that one. I remember the first time I heard him do that. We had to go down once when it was winter. Mom was very worried because of the ice. Well Dad was ready for her. He said let's sing. Mom ask how he could sing when it was so bad. He said that he would say a prayer. He stop the car and had all of us join hands. He said a prayer and then he started to sing. I'll Fly Away. Mom ask him why he sang that one first. He said, "Well if something should happen we would be on our flight to Heaven. After we got across that morning and snow still coming down. He pulled off the road as soon as he could and ask us to then join hands and he Thanked God for seeing us safely across and to be with others crossed as well. And the most amazing thing happen...as he said Amen..The clouds went away and the Sun came out, the snow had stopped. A car pulled in behind us and ask us if we were OK. Dad said yes, he was just thanking God for our safe trip Across. The man in the car ask my Dad would say one for him and his family too. Dad told him he would, ask him why he didn't do it himself. The man said they had never gone to church and didn't know how. Dad told him it was easy, just talk to God the same as he talked to him. The man and family followed us until we found a place to have breakfast. To our amazement this man again pulled in next to us and ask if our family would join him and his family to eat. We did. He ask Dad if he would teach him to pray. Dad went back to our car and brought him one of the bibles we always carried with us. Dad was not good at spelling or writfio. But he open it up to a blank page in the back of the bible. He had my mom write down his name and our address and phone number. Then he hadt her list places in the bible that would help him learn to pray and more information. After we ate and was ready to leave, Dad gave him the bible and ask him to stay in touch. The man ask where we lived and where we went to church. Dad had that also written down in the book. It was about 3 years latter we had a car come to our house..At first we did not know who it was. It was this same man and family. They had just moved close by but had never forgotten us. Dad had given him that bible that day. And the man had become a member of the church where they had lived. He ask us if we would take them to church that Sunday. We met them on Sunday. After the sermon that day this man and his wife came forward and ask if Dad would baptize them. How proud my Dad to do this. They became very good friends and all of us kids with Thiers. And although he and his wife are gone and my mom and dad are also. Their oldest son are still good friends to this day. Every time I crossed that bridge I think about that time. And I still say a prayer before going across and also after we get across. But never after that did I ever feared it. I have always loved going across any bridges. The longer and higher the better. It is not often the song " I'll Fly Away" is not going thru my mind. To me it was sad when the new bridge was built...but knew it was done out of need. One time Dad went across the Ohio's bridge then turned around and came back and we continued on our way home. My mom ask why he wasted gas to do such a thing. He said " you know I just wanted to say I had been in that state. That one never knew if they would ever get the chance again. And the first time I took my husband there I had him do it again. As each of our children got old enough we. did it for them. We all loved the bridge. And still do
. And our oldest son drives trucks and he has some great stories to tell to. He says that it is just as bad from the truck drivers too. He says his fear is not of his own driving but from the cars and them loosing control. He says he didn't think he could live with being involved in someone being hurt or killed by his truck on that bridge. So every one slow down..it makes it safer for all. I have never walked this bridge, but I have walked the Mac. Bridge from lower to upper Michigan. If you have a love for bridges you should do this. They have the walk on labor day. They have buses take you over then your car is there when you get across. The year we walked it there was a lady that was over 100 years old that was right ahead of us. She told the news that she had walked it every hear from when it was built. Her family had a wheel char for her. She would walk a short ways then sit and rest. But she made them let her walk it all. It was great to see her. Being there the moment she crossed the finish line a big cheer went up for her. I will never forget that day. Yeah to big bridges and long ones. So those of you who fear this great bridge that crosses the river that holds so much history of our nation..say a prayer before you cross over. You will be surprised you will find that God is with you all the way.
We are going to be crossing this bridge in October 2013, traveling from Sikeston, MO to Columbus, KY for the Civil War activities at Columbus-Benton State Park. It will be interesting I'm sure. I don't care for 2-lane bridges, but it should be okay. I remember crossing the 2-lane bridge from West Alton, MO to Alton, IL towing a horse trailer. I don't know who was shaking worse, the horse or me!
While recently driving from West plains Missouri to Nashville Tennesee, pouring rain all the way, I came upon the MS River Bridge quite suddenly & unexpectedly! There was nothing I could do----couldn`t turn around or back up! I was so incredibly terrified my legs were like jelly and I was shaking all over! Three 18-wheelers passed me going the opposite direction, as I white-knuckled the steering wheel, feeling, literally, nauseous from fear! I finally made it to the other side, so relieved I was about to burst into tears, when, around the next bend, suddenly appeared the Ohio River Bridge! I couldn`t believe my eyes!! The rivers were both flooded way over their banks. Somehow, I made it over both bridges, but it took me a long while to calm down! Needless to say, I found a different route back home to West Plains! I have talked about it so much since I got home that my husband said, "you`re makin` me wanna go there!" ( may 1, 2013)
I am happy to report that that this bridge is reopened to traffic! Very apparent from the driver's seat are several places where deck joints have been repaired. The new concrete is noticibly brighter than the old, but the ride is good and smooth.
I was planning a trip to SW missouri today when I noticed that Google Maps wouldn't let me route across this bridge. Then I found this:
That's right, the Hwy 60 bridge over the Mississippi is closed until at least the end of the year. Cairo will be getting a lot of extra traffic.
My father Gene Brown stated that the first truck over the bridge in 1929 was a Simpson Oil truck driven by his Uncle, Bill Fox.
I have crossed this bridge all of my life , numerous times a year for over 50yrs. I have driven 18 wheel trucks to motorcycles across this bridge it's a beautifull bridge, I love to hear the echo of the exhaust on my motorcycle as I cross the bridge I love both of those bridges
I got to visit this bridge yesterday, and I really liked it. I parked and walked out onto it and took several pictures from the deck. Lovely structure and magnificent views! It feels very sturdy, even in the middle of the suspended span with 18-wheelers going by. When I get my film back, I'll try to post some of my pictures.
I discovered this wonderful bridge during a trip this month from Texas to Lexington, Ky. Was determined to avoid the new bridges over the Mississippi, but this one caught me by surprise and with no camera at hand. I also crossed the Ohio on the other bridge, but found no place to stop and grab my camera. I feel I dreamed the two. Now I will search for pictures of the "other" bridge over the Ohio.
Thanks to all the people that posted there experiences. It helped to understand my experience. As a young man I worked as a traveling salesman. Usually, I took the Paducah Bridge, but on this occasion there was a piece of farm equipment stuck on the Paducah Bridge and we were told it would take several hours for them to get it going. I guess the closest bridge that would get me to my next destination was the "Cairo Bridge". All I really can remember is the "fear I had" when I saw a semi coming at me from the other side. My heart started beating fast and sweat began poring out. It looked like there was no way we could both be on the bridge at the same time.... I'm pretty sure I closed my eyes, but somehow I made it to the other side. Since that day, I admit I look with great apprehension at any "high" bridges...as I'm older I now let others drive. Luckily where I live there are very few high bridges...
This is a fine old bridge, and will get you across the river all in one piece. One caveat for truckers and RVers, though. Pull in your mirrors and roll up your windows before you cross.
MY GRAND FATHER, IRA EDWIN HAYES WAS THE SUPERINTENDENT OF CONSTRUCTION FOR MO. VALLEY BRIDGE AND IRON ON THIS PROJECT.
MY FATHER, ATWILL REED HUTCHINGS WAS A FOREMAN.
AS TO SOMEONE BEING LEFT IN ONE OF THE CONCRETE POURS.
THE US. CORE OF ENG. WOULD NEVER ALLOW THIS TO HAPPEN.
STOP AND THINK ABOUT THIS. IT WOULD CORRUPT THE STRENGTH OF THE CONCRETE.
HOWEVER, THERE ARE ALWAYS STORIES ABOUT THIS HAPPENING ON LARGE PROJECTS.
THANKS ROBERT REED HUTCHINGS
I think the main reason people complain is they just feel uncomfortable with the deck width. If people would just slow down and drive respectfully this would not be as big of a problem. I don't think we should validate people driving 70mph on a two-lane road by building ugly new two lane bridges with 40 foot wide decks.
I absolutely love the Cairo Mississippi/Ohio River bridges! I also find it quite amusing how some people say they're deathly afraid to go over the bridge, that they'll avoid it at all costs, some saying "tear it down!", and have some terrible, horrifying tale of their experience crossing it...and yet they all end with "but we made it safely..." Isn't that the point of a bridge, to get you safely from one side to the other? ;)
Sure I do find it "scary" crossing these bridges, but I think the much more appropriate term is "thrilling". It doesn't matter if it's a wide 4 lane bridge with shoulders and retaining walls you can't see over or these two minimal bridges; you're going to make it safely across. All you have to do is pay attention to your driving and go at a reasonable speed (in other words...use common sense) and it's perfectly safe, even with oncoming semis (ok, provided they're doing the same).
And I think it's really all mental. Crossing these bridges and any large bridge is intimidating to everyone; it's up to you to allow yourself to tense up and feel stressed, terrified, and have an unpleasent experience...or you can relax and enjoy a cheap thrill. :)
Love everyone's tales of memories and fondness of the bridge as well, and to those who view it as a free rollercoaster instead of a nightmare, I offer a toast!
My mom drove over this bridge in June 2009 and she was terrified of it... And she thought the Loudon Bridge was in Loudon, TN was scary. HA! Which would you drive over?
I just drove my maxed out flabed...GVW 79360 lbs over those 2 old bridges. Driving a car over those wouldn't have been bad at all...come to think of it. But yeah...I really had to stay focused....especially passing trucks coming the opposite direction. There is another old bridge "The Huey Long Bridge" in Jefferson Parish ( New Orleans ) that I hate driving a truck on just about as much as these 2 put together!!!! 18' deck in one direction....with dumbasses trying to pass me. I could hear my trailer tires squealing against the cement barrier as some jerk in an SUV just had to squeeze by. Well that was it...I just hogged both lanes after that!!!
I remember crossing this bridge quite a few times in the seventies, before the I-57 bridge was completed. It was amazing how much easier the crossing became.
After that, I heard tales from relatives about how they reared crossing that bridge whenever they had to travel between Flint and Jonesboro.
Looking at the pictures on the site, it's amazing how comfortable this crossing now is. I wonder if anyone's got shots of people crossing the bridge with cars and semis coming at them on the other side of the bridge.
So sorry to read the post from a direct relative of a man that was killed while working on this bridge. I was born in Cairo, IL. and my mothers family lived in Wyatt, Mo. and America, IL.. My grandfather, Charles A. Clark, worked on the construction of this bridge and he, personally, told me of the callousness of the "bosses" of the construction crew. He told me of an incident that amazed and shocked him at the same time. He witnessed the death of a worker that had fallen into a partially filled concrete form for one of the supports. Everybody stopped working and wondered how they could help the poor man. The "boss" came over and looked into the half-filled column and said, "He's done for boys. Throw in another load!" and with that, the remaining concrete was poured over the man and work on the bridge continued. I don't know how many were killed building this bridge, but I, too, have heard that it was four. I hope that the families of men killed on this project can understand how attitudes have changed since "way back then" and know that their fathers and grandfathers were brave men to undertake a job fraught with dangers from which there was no rescue. It is even more tragic when somebody loses their life while trying to make a living. Always keep the Cairo Mississippi River Bridge as a memorial to these brave souls, if nothing else.
I had known for years that my grandfather died in an accident while working on that bridge. Today I recieved the newspaper clipping that was published the day after he died.
I was amazed to find out that his death was the fourth one during construction of that bridge. He was only 32 years old and left a widow with three children ranging in ages from 7 to 2 years old.
I never knew my grandfather and his children did not remember him. He was an orphan so there were no relatives on his side of the family. No pictures of him either
Just wanted to post this here in memory of my grandfather
Edward Monroe Fuller birth date day and month unknown year approx 1891 died October 17, 1928
I love this bridge... So much. It's one of my favorite places to be. Seeing the sunset from it is amazingly beautiful.
I crossed this scary bridge driving from Fl. to Mo. when returning I would have driven to Ca. if I had to cross the bridge again
Scary! We crossed this bridge right after the ICE storm hit Paducah Ky and Southern Missouri. The fog was thick and Ice covered the bridge. You could barely see the water. There was an accident that caused both lanes to stop for about 45 minutes and the bridge was full of 18 wheelers. Even the Police were afraid the bridge might fall! That was scary!!
This bridge needs to be demolished
Will I be able to cross here on Tuesday June 24th? What about possible flooding of approaches on both sides?
I was born in Charleston Missouri, but have lived in Ohio since 1957. I was told as a child that my father worked on this bridge. I have certainly enjoy this information and it brings back many childhood memories. Thanks to all who are responsible for this historical information.
New Matamoras, Ohio
I can at this time hear a barge going down the river. Maybe it will go as far as Cario, at least I like to imagine when I hear them go by. I live right on the Ohio River.
In the early 70s when I had just started driving semis I used to go across that bridge many nights in the fog. it was very tricky getting across when you met another semi going the other way. many trucks had their mirrors torn off on that bridge because they where to far over one way or another. I was lucky I guess I never lost a mirror.
man talk about old memories.
We used cross this bridge a couple of times a year traveling from Dyersburg, TN to Peoria, IL to visit family in the 70's. I always hated crossing this bridge because it was narrow, high, and had a curve at the end...as a kid I thought something must be wrong if they had to put a curve in the bridge. On the other hand, there was a little diner in Cairo where where my dad would stop and get me a grilled cheese and a piece of coconut pie!
As a newly married couple in oct. 1975, we were traveling from lackland air force base in antonio, texas north,
thru arkansas and missouri on our way to rantoul, illinois. my airman husband was going to attend school for a few
months at chanute air force base in rantoul. we heard that a few years later that base was eventually closed along
with several others, due to government cutbacks. well anyway our trip was going along rather nicely and
practically without incident. neither one of us had ever been north of texas or louisiana. we were young (17 and
19), had never been away from our families for any length of time. so we took off in our old 1969 chevy impala my
parents had given us as a wedding gift and set out on our first real adventure in our new married lives together. I
remember thinking how excited and full of enthusiam we were. we were just about thru missouri when suddenly we came
upon this long and narrow and dangerous looking bridge that if i remember right, crossed the mississippi and ohio
rivers. i looked at my new husband and said "do we really have to cross this thing? there can't be enough room for
two vehicles at the same time on it! isn't there another way we can take." looking again at our map, it confirmed
our worse fears. this was it, the only way to go. it looked like a new interstate highway was just under
construction and not fully completed to where we were heading. I learned some years later that that interstate
highway was eventually completed and a new four lane bridge was built across the river. here we are getting onto
the bridge, (approaching from its south end on a big curve if i remember correctly) praying for no oncoming
traffic. i think i must have closed my eyes because i was too scared to look down or ahead and we were about half
way over the bridge when i heard my husband say "oh no!" an 18 wheeler was approaching us in the opposite lane and
there was nowhere to go but straight ahead. i prayed and cried some more.i swear we must have touched each other in
passing. and then we met up with a couple of cars further down the bridge. it was a total nightmare. and half way
up there i decided to look down. my goodness we seemed so high up and there was nothing but water all around us.
first of all i have a fear of heights as well as water. so i was totally miserable. well we did eventually make it
over to the other side and then when you think it can't get any worse, we were faced with the steep levees and with
no shoulders.i didn't want look down there either for fear of falling or something. needless to say it was a
blessing when we entered cairo and left the horrid bridge with its fast moving rivers behind us. it was just a
really bad experience. two months later we took that same bridge again heading back down south to louisiana for the
christmas holidays. the trip going home wasn't so bad. but heading back up north was a different story. it had
snowed and the bridge was iced. oh gosh that bridge was so slick and it seemed like we were moving in slow motion.
we were barely trudging along. i thought we'd never get to the other side. and then there was the slick narrow road
along the levee going into cairo. that was certainly another memorable trip! what i would like to know is which
bridge this was. could this be the cairo mississippi river bridge? i think i read on here that there are two
bridges in that area. like i said i believe this bridge crossed both the mississippi and ohio rivers. i can't
remember the name or the highway. and does this bridge still exist? surely its been replaced by now. after all that
was 33 years ago and it seemed practially obsolete and so dangerous back then. have any major traffic accidents or
fatalities ever occurred on it? and also does cairo still exist? i know it was just a little town and i remember
little about it except it looked rather historical looking. i thought i would always have loved to go back up that
way for old times sakes, but i sure would avoid that bridge at all cost. HA!
I've traveled this bridge a number of times visiting relatives in Atlanta; always a highlight of the trip. One looks out on the vast expanse of water downriver, and thinks of all the history and commerce this place has seen over the centuries. The New Madrid earthquakes (hurry up, get off the bridge). General Grant in the observation tower at Ft Defiance and all that.
Driving the bridge itself is a thrill for speed freaks in small cars and a terror for lumbering RV's and oncoming semis - no two trips the same, but all unforgettable.
One wonders of the future, particularly given the increasing risk of a big earthquake. It's very likely the bridge will come down in a magnitude 7 or higher, and although there has been much talk of building a new bridge below the confluence, no solid action has been taken, a cause for concern as the local commerce and culture of Missouri, Illinois and Kentucky greatly depends on the 2 Cairo bridges.
I just posted a comment about this bridge, how it scared me when I was growing up. I still travel a lot between MO and KY but I usually go through Cairo and take the Cairo-I-57 bridge into MO.
As a kid growing up in the late 40's that bridge scared me to death! It seemed so far down to the water and when we would get to the toll booth I was afraid they wouldn't let us across. Then in the late 50's riding on the school bus to a football game in Cairo, the bus would sometimes hit the side of the bridge and sparks would fly! Of course we would all scream.
When a child and we went over the bridge I got down in the floorboard I was so worried. It was a toll bridge for a long while and the teeners would go cross the pond to Cairo as it had quite a few watering holes, sometimes in an ambulance with the siren on so as not to pay the toll. It was where we all went to the hospital. I had a flat on this bridge and yes it shakes but it has to or it would fall. Quite nice memories of the old bridge which the new one does not have.
born in Missouri.We was always on the levee going to illinois or kentucky.the levee was bad enough before Missouri built new bridge. Levee always backed up to Wyatt because bridge couldn't handle the traffic and if there was a wreck you wasn't going no where.Was in elementary school and went on field trip to Cairo to museum and rode in floor board while crossing bridge both ways.Was told at 1 time it had walks on bridge so people could walk across ,but was taking out to widen and it is still not wide enough. all i can say take the ferry.
I think this is a pretty bridge and would like to walk on it! bridges fascinate me to no end and I am NOT scared to walk on ANY bridge.My local bridge bounces when semi trucks and buses cross,but ALL steel bridges do this.I checked with MN DOT and it is simply flexing.Ours flexes so hard,it has knocked me on my butt,I continue to walk on it as I am used to it and just hold the rail to keep from falling.It is when they DON'T flex you SHOULD worry,like 35w quit doing before it collapsed.Even wittnessing it's demise didn't really scare me.I feel saddened by it and sad for those poor people!! But it won't kill my fascination for bridges!!My niece LOVES it when we bounce and bugs me for a stroll to "our bridge" by the way-I posted it here! It is under-kettle river bridge #5718.A nice pratt deck truss in a1 condition!!
This one needs to be torn down and replaced ASAP! What a huge POS, much like the whole city of Cairo
try crossing it in a semi while meetting another semi
Born and raised in SE Missouri and living in Charleston, I can't count how many times I have gone over that bridge. My great grandfather help build the bridge and told me there was a guy buried in the concrete (don't know if its true or not).
Day or night, its a scary bridge, but it's the bridge I grew up with and have great memories of trips going over it. Whether to go shopping at Paducah or coming home from Georgia. The day my son was born, his grandfather was caught on the Kentucky side because of bridge construction on the Ohio Bridge and missed his birth. Try driving a combine over the bridge!! Thats not fun either. All traffic must stop. Actually, its not the bridges that bother me or that terrible curve coming off of the Ohio Bridge into Kenucky, but on the Missouri side of HWY 60 on the levy road. I don't travel that at night anymore. I think someone else said, there aren't any lights at night on those bridges and yes, its very dark driving over them.
When I was about 14 years old I lived at Wyatt, Mo. This was in 1947. My friend Irvin Palmer and I used to ride our bikes from Wyatt, Mo. to Cairo, Ill. It was a fun trip and we weren't a bit nervous about crossing the bridge. Sometimes when the big trucks were on the bridge at the same time, it did shake a little, but we were not concerned. The bridge has always brought pleasant memories to me.
I guess that comment was a little boring, so I'll expand. The trucking company my father drives for has a yearly "kids week" where sons/daughters/grandsons/ect. get to go for a ride with whoever it is they're related to. Well this was my first year, and my dad's destination at the time was Sikeston, Missouri from Atlanta, Georgia. After crossing the Ohio river span, i thought we were done with narrow bridges, oh was i wrong. We come around the sharp curve, and there it was. I didnt want to cross. But i had no choice, and i wasnt going to throw a fit. All in all its not a bad ride across, unless theres another truck comming from the opposite direction...which there was. A lot of mirror clicking happens on that bridge...lol
Oh man. I went over this bridge in a big truck back in July of 2002..i was ten. And ill tell you this. I was never more scared of crossing a bridge in my life!
There used to be three bridges in this part of the country that scared the living bejeezus out of me. One, the old James Bethel Gresham Bridge at Calhoun, KY over the Green River, is no more, having been replaced by a more modern span. The others are the Cairo Mississippi River and the Cairo Ohio River bridges. Of course, daredevil father that I am, I cross them both on our trips to Oklahoma to visit family, just so my four kids can see what real bridges USED to be like. And we travel Highway 60 across the Show-Me State because Interstate life is just too boring!
Daylight crossings of the bridges are exciting, but the real thrill is to cross them at night. The only lights are from the barges on the river below, and possibly a few other places, but I am not daredevil enough to take my eyes off of the bridge!
I know there's talk of a new bridge somewhere down the line, but I sure hope they don't get rid of these two. They truly are treasures and I get a little misty to see them every time approach coming home, because I know we're almost home.
I just crossed this bridge April 25th of 2007 and had never had a fear of bridges until this one. We were heading into Kentucky this day and got about 1/3 of the way over this bridge when all of the sudden we had to stop for construction. The bridge was down to only 1 very narrow lane and we had to wait our turn. After stopping I began to feel the bridge begin to shutter and shake. Mind you I have never felt a fear over the hundreds of bridges I have traveled over but this one got me. As the on-coming travel started to pass me the shaking became worse as if the bridge may collapse. Obvioulsly it never did but nonetheless my nerves were shot. Shortly after that I wondered if I would always have a fear of bridges and that question was answered 10-15 miles down the road as I crossed the Ohio River into Kentucky. Luckily I did fine and have crossed 3 others since this expierence. On my return trip I took the I 57 bridge which was just fine.
I remember vividly crossing this bridge in 1975 in an MCI MC-7 motor coach on the final leg of a trip from Tucson, AZ to Paducah, KY, during a snow storm with the bridge covered in ice. Like most 1920s spans, the lanes are narrow and unforgiving, and the surface was slippery on the main span, as it was on that nasty "suicide curve" on the southern approach. I remember losing traction on the drive wheels trying to get up the approach ramp, and the back end of the bus fishtailing slightly, requiring a careful touch on the throttle. Once on top, I passed a truck mid-span and we clicked mirrors. It was a nerve wracking experience, to be certain. To look at this span in these pictures shows a pretty typical American Bridge product of the era, with field "built-up" lattice beams and the like, and it's a monument to 20th century American engineering. It also seems quite benign in the sunny weather. However, on that day in '75 with all that ice, I thought I was a goner! Of all my Mississippi River crossings, this bridge stands above all as the most memorable for me.
Well, I took my trip from California to Wisconsin in September, making sure my route included crossing at Cairo.
Not to sound like a cheap detective novel, but it was a dark and rainy afternoon. A ghostly skeleton looming above the trees in the distance recalled an unsettling memory. But I figured that the heavy semis in the line ahead of me would plunge into the river before I did. If I hung back in traffic a ways, maybe I could stop just at the brink of disaster...
Fifty years fills in a lot gaps in a child's imagination. The bridge was an absolute pleasure to cross. And at 25 mph, I could even enjoy taking a glance up and down the river. The bridge restoration is beautiful. A travel destination in its own right.
I was bicycling from Florida to points west and crossed this bridge in traffic when the two rivers were in flood, and I couldn't get into Cairo after crossing the Ohio from Kentucky. The other drivers did not appreciate me being out there in front of them on this narrow bridge with my loaded bike, but I made quick work of it even going into the wind. The heavy trucks motivated me!
I live about 18 miles from this bridge. It is a great structure. When I was a small boy we had a neighbor named Herman Puyear that worked on this bridge when it was built. He was working on the very top catching hot rivets to be hammered into the metal when he fell off and missed a barge by only a few feet. The people on the barge saw him fall and fished him from the river. Lucky, he was rolled into a ball when hitting the water and they say that is what saved him. He stuttered when he talked and I always had him tell me about falling. he would say I ssseen wwater and ssseen sssky. I loved to hear him tell about it. he was a very great guy. Richard L. Bell
LOL another person from sw michigan here by birth not choice lol i was also raised in the ne ar and se mo area and i remember in the mid 80's going across this bridge and the I57 bridge it was interesting to cross this one more than the other one i would always stay up till we got to the bridge and man it seemed like it took forever and day to get there but once we got there it would excite me cause i knew then that it wasnt far to paragould, ar area to where we was going.
I just ran across this site, and it sure brought back memories. In the mid-50's when I was just 5-8 years old, my mother used to drive this bridge to visit relatives in SEMO. We lived in Michigan at the time, and always seemed to go south in the spring just at flood season. Crossing this bridge used to terrify me. My mother was a real speed demon, and she would drive our 1950 Ford or later her 1955 Rambler across this thing at 65 mph. I used to crouch down in the seat or on the floor knowing that we were either to go right off the side of the bridge or be hit head on by one of the on-coming trucks.
I'm planning a trip next month and will probably drive the bridge again. We'll see if 50 years has erased the terror!
In 1985 my wife and I traveled from Michigan to Texas to visit our daughter. It was the middle of February and we had stayed overnight in southern IL. Getting up early we found that it had snowed several inches and was still snowing. We left following I-57. It was a Sunday morning and there wasn't any traffic at all. It was snowing so hard we couldn't see the road and all I wanted to do was get off that expressway. We came to the Cairo exit and I took it. Followed the road through the town and soon saw the bridge in front of us. Hadn't seen another car the whole time. Continued onto the bridge and thought, "This is a very narrow, old bridge". The glimpses I got of the river were spectacular but too focused on driving to see much. Got us to the other side and followed the levees in MO until we found our way to the expressway again. So that was our visit to Cairo and the historic Cairo Mississippi River Bridge.
When I was a little kid in the 60s, my parents would travel from Atlanta, TX to Sumner, IL. We would leave after my parents left work. We would reach this bridge late at night. I remember the excitement but the gut wrenching fear was almost overwhelming. The bridge was so massive and high in the air. I always knew that a section of the bridge would be missing and we would fall in. A childs imagination. I am planning a trip in June 2006 with my mother, wife and 15 year old son. I cannot wait to relive this childhood memory.
I have sent a message to the webmaster regarding my searching for this bridge. My husband has in his possession a pocket knife which shows this bridge in fantastic detail on the front of it and with the wording ESTABLISHED 1856 STUPP BROS. BRIDGE AND IRON CO. on the reverse side. It is in fantastic condition and we were interesting in finding the value or whatever and locating the bridge.
He has relatives in Missouri and thus that is where I started my search and I was amazed at the number of bridges in Missouri alone. What an interesting site. Should you know or have information on the manufacturing of this knife we would greatly appreciate it......sincerely, Marion O'Neill