Rating:
6 votes

Amelia Earhart Bridge

Photos 

Photo taken by Robert Elder

Enlarge

BH Photo #110255

Map 

Street Views 

Facts 

Overview
Through truss bridge over the Missouri River on US 59 at Atchison
Location
Atchison County, Kansas, and Buchanan County, Missouri
Status
Replaced by new bridge
Future prospects
Replaced by a new tied arch bridge on 4 December 2012.
History
Built 1937-38; rehabilitated 1975; Demolished 2013
Builders
- Sverdrup & Parcel of St. Louis, Missouri (Designer)
- Wisconsin Bridge & Iron Co. of Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Design
Cantilevered Warren through truss
Dimensions
Length of largest span: 474.0 ft.
Total length: 2,677.4 ft. (0.5 mi.)
Deck width: 23.9 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 15.1 ft.
Approximate latitude, longitude
+39.55959, -95.11294   (decimal degrees)
39°33'35" N, 95°06'47" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/318478/4381010 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Atchison East
Inventory numbers
MoDOT K-697R (Missouri Dept. of Transportation bridge number)
KDOT 0003-B0013 (Kansas Dept. of Transportation bridge number)
BH 17349 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection (as of 05/2011)
Deck condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Superstructure condition rating: Poor (4 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Appraisal: Structurally deficient
Sufficiency rating: 23.2 (out of 100)
Average daily traffic (as of 2010)
8,190

Update Log 

  • October 9, 2013: Updated by David Backlin: Updated status to Lost
  • May 26, 2013: New photo from Aaron Hall
  • December 5, 2012: Updated by Robert Elder: Edited Status, Status Description, and Future Prospects. The bridge is closed and awaiting demolition.
  • October 8, 2011: New photos from Ben Tate
  • August 18, 2011: New photos from James Baughn
  • May 14, 2010: New Street View added by Robert Elder
  • March 9, 2010: Updated by Robert Elder: Added Street View link for this doomed bridge.
  • January 20, 2010: Updated by Robert Elder: Adjusted GPS Coordinates.
  • November 2, 2009: Updated by Robert Elder: Edited Future Prospects

Related Bridges 

Sources 

Comments 

Amelia Earhart Bridge
Posted October 9, 2013, by Zach Elliott (metallicarox2009 [at] gmail [dot] com)
Amelia Earhart Bridge
Posted October 9, 2013, by Anonymous

The main structure of the bridge was dropped into the river aruond 9:30am today 10/9/13

Amelia Earhart Bridge
Posted August 29, 2013, by Zach Elliott (metallicarox2009 [at] gmail [dot] com)

About a month until she's history :( Via the Atchison Globe:

"The question has been on the mind of many, ever since the new Amelia Earhart Memorial Bridge was opened to traffic in December: When will the old bridge be imploded?

Multiple sources have confirmed the implosion will occur in three phases, beginning Monday, Sept. 23. The following blasts will come Tuesday, Sept. 24 and Monday, Sept. 30. The Kansas Department of Transportation also confirmed the dates, but said they were tentative and that specific times have not yet been determined.

- See more at: http://www.atchisonglobenow.com/news/breaking_news/article_b...

Amelia Earhart Bridge
Posted July 11, 2013, by Anonymous the Athenian (Anonymous [at] athens [dot] net)

After the Trojan War

A journey of a decade in store

Past Scylla and Charybdis we sail

Undeterred by the sweet Siren's wail

To reach at last our home shore

To reach Athens shall be a joy

Telemachus no longer a boy

The Aegean Sea so rough

But our craft and our sailors so tough

May our ships ne'er the storms destroy

Amelia Earhart took flight

An Odyssey of her own in sight

A new record she would own

Should she return to her Kansas home

She ne'er gave up her good fight

The seas of the world can spell doom

For error such little room

But the Mighty Mo carries barges

And so now the Coast Guard charges

This bridge must come down with a boom

Amelia Earhart Bridge
Posted July 5, 2013, by Randy Rasa (randy [at] cleversoul [dot] com)

New bridge with the old one still standing next to it. Was pleased to see that the new bridge has wide bike-friendly shoulders. I'd never ridden over the old one, but understand that it was a rather terrifying experience.

Amelia Earhart Bridge
Posted May 20, 2013, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

I drove over the new bridge last month. Construction crews had removed the roadbed leading to the old bridge. I doubt this one is going to stand much longer.

Amelia Earhart Bridge
Posted December 26, 2012, by Zach Elliott (metallicarox2009 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Drove across the new bridge today, didn't get any photos (forgot my DSLR at home and it was like 15 degrees) and it's really nice. Only have half the lanes open right now and the West Approach span is gone a good portion of the way up so they can complete the remaining approach for the new bridge.

Amelia Earhart Bridge
Posted December 5, 2012, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Video of the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for the new bridge:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=QaY20...

I noticed that they allowed children on bikes to be the first to cross the new bridge. Nice gesture.

Amelia Earhart Bridge
Posted December 4, 2012, by Zach Elliott (zachelliottwx [at] gmail [dot] com)

According to the Atchison Globe, traffic is now flowing across the new bridge.

Amelia Earhart Bridge
Posted November 20, 2012, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

I drove over this bridge on 20 October 2012. I noticed that the deck is really getting rough.

Amelia Earhart Bridge
Posted November 19, 2012, by Mark Stuempel

I talked with the construction manager a couple weeks ago. Apparently the new bridge is ready to handle traffic, but they're waiting until the ribbon cutting. That occurs on Dec. 4, 2012, so traffic will be moved to the new bridge on Dec. 5. Better hurry and get up there if you want to drive one last time on the old one.

Amelia Earhart Bridge
Posted September 12, 2012, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Mr. Hall:

Thank you for posting these photographs. Due to a construction delay, the new bridge is scheduled to open in late October instead of late September.

Amelia Earhart Bridge and new bridge
Posted September 12, 2012, by Aaron Hall (ahall [at] vitaphone [dot] net)

Some photos taken Sept. 12, 2012 of both the Earhart bridge and the new bridge. The first is from the 5th street viaduct in Atchison. The rest were taken from the approach and deck of the new bridge on the Missouri side.

Before it was named for Amelia Earhart, the bridge was known as just the "Mo-Kan" bridge. My great-uncle worked on the construction crew in the 1930s.

Amelia Earhart Bridge
Posted August 8, 2012, by Julie Bowers (jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

HEY robert, I snapped a couple pi@ks here of the new massive arch with slab approaches as I was coming home from KsHS grant workshop. Patrick Zollner told me he thought the documentary was good.....

I learned some editing tricks and how to define the budget for payback.

Pretty good. Here is to Katrina Ringler for making a fine workshop. Was stopped outside by a couple of old men who needed some grant writing help. Gave them our card. They were fixing with their own funds an old gas station in Topeka.

Amelia Earhart Bridge
Posted August 8, 2012, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Thanks for the pics, Julie. Looks like the new bridge is going to be one of those Network Tied Arches. It will definitely be a nice structure, compared with the new MO River bridges at Glasgow, Lexington, and Miami.

Amelia Earhart Bridge
Posted June 27, 2011, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Flooding on the Missouri River is delaying construction of the new bridge:

http://stjoechannel.com/fulltext-news?nxd_id=206747

Amelia Earhart Bridge
Posted May 10, 2011, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

MODOT page for the replacement of this bridge:

http://www.modot.mo.gov/northwest/ameliaearhartbridge/index....

Contains link to photos of the construction site.

Amelia Earhart Bridge
Posted February 15, 2011, by James Davie

I am in charge of the crew that is hauling in all of the bridge girders for the new bridge. In 2-4 weeks we will be hauling in the very last span on the Missouri side. Once that is done, it is a waiting game since we have a few more girders left to haul in for the Kansas side. The last few girders can only go in once the abutment of the old bridge is destroyed.

Amelia Earhart Bridge
Posted February 11, 2011, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)
Amelia Earhart Bridge
Posted February 11, 2011, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

If you want to visit this bridge, plan on doing it this summer. The new bridge is currently scheduled to open this fall.

http://earthcam.com/clients/kansasDOT/

Amelia Earhart Bridge
Posted January 18, 2011, by James Baughn (webmaster [at] bridgehunter [dot] com)

What's frustrating is that this bridge had more going for it than most large river bridges. It was selected as one of the nation's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places in 2003:

http://www.preservationnation.org/travel-and-sites/sites/mou...

...and it had considerable local support for saving it.

The offer for reuse is a joke. The $200,000 would barely cover the cost of complying with the red tape in the fine print, much less any actual construction work.

I don't think any large bridge has ever been successfully relocated. If I remember right, the old Mark Twain Bridge in Hannibal, MO, had a serious bid from a town in California that wanted to rebuild it as a tourist attraction, but they simply couldn't raise the money. That's the usual story.

I suppose it could be feasible to try to save the two deck truss approach spans (which are interesting in their own right), but even that would be ridiculously expensive.

These large bridges are disappearing fast, and soon almost all will be gone from the lower Missouri River (except for newer 1950s versions). There's only two ways to realistically save one of them: (1) somehow convince the Corps of Engineers and Coast Guard to allow a bridge to remain standing as a pedestrian crossing, or (2) convince the highway department to build a "twin" that would carry one-way traffic while refurbishing the old bridge to carry traffic in the other direction.

Current federal law is quite good at saving covered bridges, but beyond that, it's mostly a joke where the DOTs go through the motions of offering bridges for adaptive reuse, but nothing is really accomplished in most cases.

Amelia Earhart Bridge
Posted January 18, 2011, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

Andy: Thanks for the clarification, I thought that $200,000 seemed low.

James McCray: I was wondering if anyone would bring the Milton Madison Bridge up. If I had to pick one doomed cantilever bridge to save, Milton Madison would be the one. If I had won the mega millions lottery, this bridge would have been mine the day after I got the check.

The commitments to work with Section 106 and Section 4(f) to try to avoid the demolition of both the Amelia Earhart bridge and the Milton Madison Bridge have fallen short of acceptable in my opinion. Unfortunately, I did not participate as a consulting party for Section 106 for either bridge. Because common sense suggests that relocation of large bridges is not feasible, a greater consideration needs to be made by the DOT to find a way to leave the historic bridge standing next to its replacement.

Finally, I wanted to comment... don't let the size scare you away... let the cost scare you away. If someone here can find the money to move a bridge of this size, just let me know and I will find a place for the bridge. Might not be over a navigable river, but I am sure a home could be found. At the very least, the main spans could be used.

Amelia Earhart Bridge
Posted January 18, 2011, by James McCray (jamesinslocomb [at] yahoo [dot] com)

Indiana DOT put up the Madison Milton Bridge in Madison, IN over the Ohio river up for "adoption" to be moved elsewhere before they made plans to demolish it. It is going to be demolished, though, because no one has the money or the resources needed to move such a large structure. It would be nice if someone would take the bridge. It will be a sad day for me when I see the Madison bridge taken down. I hope the situation is different for you. Also, did they not do the same thing with the Paseo bridge nearby?

Amelia Earhart Bridge
Posted January 18, 2011, by Andy

Nathan,

I work for the company who will be preforming the demolition of this bridge and I can assure use $200,000 is not anywhere close to the cost of demoliiton (it needs another 0). Also the steel alone on this bridge is worth $500,000 easy.

I have no idea where they came up with the $200,000 number but it shows that they're not really concerned with actually providing any realistic means for saving a part of this bridge unless a third party dumps a lot of money into it.

In the end, it looks like the bridge will go down in a blaze of glory with another explosive firework display.

Amelia Earhart Bridge
Posted January 18, 2011, by Jason Smith (JDSmith77 [at] gmx [dot] net)

Hi Matt,

Not a bad idea with the crossing at Clearwater. However the only problem I see is the fact that MnDOT wants to convert the bridge into a 4-lane megasaurus bridge with freeway connections to I-94. There are only two options that can be done with reusuing Amelia: Have the bridge serve two lanes of traffic going one direction and construct a duplicate span for the other direction or build it nearby to serve pedestrians and/or light vehicles. Given MnDOT's hesitancy with cantilever bridges, I'm not sure if the agency would embark on this endeavor; esp. now with the 1 billion dollar budget cuts....

Amelia Earhart Bridge
Posted January 18, 2011, by Matthew Lohry

Jason,

Work on a new basket-handle arch bridge is underway at the Lowry Avenue site, so unfortunately, that option is out. The St. Anthony Parkway idea is a good one; it would be nice to have a new historic truss to replace the current one, but it would be even better to keep the current bridge in place there, as it is an extremely rare multi-span Warren through truss. Problem here is, this bridge is only just over 530 feet long, whereas the Amelia Earhart Bridge is 2677 feet long! There is no room to lengthen the St. Anthony Parkway bridge because of streets on either side with no room for approach slopes, so I think that the current bridge should be left in place there. I believe it to be completely restorable, and I believe that it could be done for not a whole lot of cost--at least relative to replacing it altogether.

Here's my idea--the Hwy. 24 bridge over the Mississippi up at Clearwater is scheduled to be replaced within the next decade, and its length, at just under 1150 feet, is such that this bridge would be a perfect fit. The north side of the current Clearwater bridge has nothing but a boat access road, which would make it easy to fit this entire bridge there. Even better, the old Clearwater bridge is a UCEB built in 1958 that nobody will bat an eye at replacing, so everyone wins in this case! We cross the Clearwater Bridge all the time going to my in-laws' place, and I would be more than happy to be able to cross this beautiful cantilever bridge on a regular basis!

Amelia Earhart Bridge
Posted January 18, 2011, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

It only is going to cost $200,000 to demolish the bridge? I am not an expert on these things, but I would have thought it would be more. Normally they can give funds to help someone move a bridge up to 100% the cost of demolition.

Amelia Earhart Bridge
Posted January 18, 2011, by Jason Smith (JDSmith77 [at] gmx [dot] net)

I'm wondering if it would make sense to relocate the bridge to Minneapolis to either be placed at the site of the former Lowry Avenue Bridge or the St. Anthony Pkwy. Bridge, as the latter is scheduled to be removed and the former has been removed already. Let me know what you think?

JS

Amelia Earhart Bridge
Posted January 18, 2011, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Very interesting - thank you for bringing this to our attention. DOTs frequently market bridges like this for relocation as part of the mitigation process for replacing a historic bridge.

It is rare to find a party interested in actually moving such a large bridge however. Thus, these marketed bridges usually end up being scrapped and melted down. My suspicion is that we will end up with a few pieces of the bridge on display somewhere, or a small section of the bridge being re-used, with the rest being scrapped.

Naturally, re-assembling the entire bridge would be quite an expensive challenge, but if some private third party was interested and had the fund-raising capability, then more power to them.

Bridges over navigable streams such as the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers have considerably more restrictions due to Coast Guard regulations. Such bridges can be obstructions for barges, so they need to be removed if not carrying trains or vehicles. Due to these restrictions, it is very doubtful that this bridge could just be converted to a pedestrian bridge in-place.

Thus, if the bridge was to be completely re-assembled somewhere, it would need to cross a large, but non-navigable stream (such as the Kansas River), or another obstruction like the rail-yards mentioned by Karrin. This would almost certainly have to be done with a large amount of private funding.

Amelia Earhart Bridge - KDOT Seeking Proposals for New Home
Posted January 18, 2011, by Karrin Huhmann (karrinhuhmann [at] gmail [dot] com)

This morning KDOT announced it is seeking proposals for a new home for the original Amelia Earhart Bridge. Because of its historic designation, it is not to be scrapped, rather moved & displayed, preferably for actual public use. $200K in funds will be given to the winning proposal for expenses. I'm attaching the press release and proposal guidelines. You can also find them at the KDOT site, here: http://www.ksdot.org/topekaMetro/press.asp#northeast

I am thinking of seeing if the city of Kansas City, MO would have any interest in the bridge for use as another pedestrian crossing over the railroad tracks that divide the Crossroads Business district from the Union Station and Crown Center area. They probably won't be, so I wanted to post this info here to a group of people who are likely to show interest in the bridge.

Good work you do, Bridgehunters!

Attachment #1 (application/pdf; 69,934 bytes)

Attachment #2 (application/pdf; 114,284 bytes)

Attachment #3 (application/pdf; 111,473 bytes)

Amelia Earhart Bridge
Posted February 12, 2010, by Chalon Harper (camowolf95 [at] live [dot] com)

Here we go again. Another masterpiece being torn down to put up another horrid monster. I absolutely loved the old Cape Girardeau (Mo.) Bridge. Yes I know it needed work. Instead of restoring it,they put up another of the suspension bridges. You know what. We all need to band together to stop the destruction of these beautiful bridges. They need to be restored. My 2c anyhow.

Amelia Earhart Bridge
Posted November 3, 2009, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Span=spans. Pardon the typo.

Amelia Earhart Bridge
Posted November 3, 2009, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

The main span of the Amelia Earhart Bridge and the Miami bridges do appear to be nearly identical. Both were built by Sverdrup and Parcel.

Although the new bridge will not have the historic value of the old cantilever span, at least it will have some aesthetic appeal.

I looked at the photos of the new Glasgow Bridge in Missouri. I understand that the main idea is to have a safe modern bridge, and I also understand the concept of form following function. That being said, that new Glasgow Bridge has to be the most hideously ugly bridge I have ever seen! May KDOT and MODOT deliver us from having to look at something like that when we drive through Atchison.

Amelia Earhart Bridge
Posted November 3, 2009, by Todd aka "bridgebuilder" (mrwalk08 [at] aol [dot] com)

I looked at pics of the Amelia Earhart bridge online and it resembles the "Miami Bridge" which is being removed in favor of the ugly UCEB. I really like the idea of a steel arch going up at the Amelia Earhart site. The idea of slapping stringer beams on old truss piers doesn't cut it well to me. Cheers! for the Amelia Earhart bridge, and double thumbs down for the Miami crossing.

Amelia Earhart Bridge
Posted November 2, 2009, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

This bridge is to be replaced by a new tied arch steel bridge. The tied arch will span the main channel.

http://www.ksdot.org/topekametro/pdf/Amelia-Earhart%20-Bridg...

Another site will allow viewers to observe the construction process. http://www.earthcam.com/clients/kansasDOT/ As you can see, construction of the new bridge is just beginning.

Amelia Earhart Bridge
Posted July 3, 2009, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Ground has been broken for the new bridge.

http://www.cjonline.com/news/state/2009-07-03/ground_broken_...

Amelia Earhart Bridge
Posted August 4, 2007, by Dylan Edwards (kswx29 [at] cox [dot] net)

Here are some pictures i have of the bridge. Hope to go back up there and snap a few better ones before it is replaced or they put up a second bridge. I have been hearing both.

Amelia Earhart Bridge
Posted November 16, 2006, by Jordan Malm (jordan_alex2006 [at] hotmail [dot] com)

hey my name is jprdan malm and i would like to leave a comment on this because i dont want them to replace the bridge!!! i like the bridge because it shows people that atchison really does have some history to it. i remeber my dad always talking about it. he always talked about how it made atchison look good for change. so all i am saying is please dont tear down the bridge