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Fisk Bridge

Photos 

Overview of modern bridge

Photo taken by James Baughn

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BH Photo #103974

Map 

Description 

Bridge was hit by a truck - which is understandable given the low overhead clearance through the end portals - but that was not the cause of the crash and collapse.

Newspaper Accounts of the Dec 10, 1975 Truck Crash and Collapse of the Fisk Bridge 

Compiled by Rusty Weisman

The relatively low overhead clearance in the portal opening on the Fisk Bridge, which is clearly visible in the USACE's 1946 photo (No. 9), might have lead to a crash and one might expect that it was the cause of the bridge collapse after it was struck by a truck in 1975. However, newspaper accounts of the Dec. 10, 1975 truck crash that caused the bridge to collapse suggest that the west bound truck - carrying 42,000 pounds of liquid detergent - first collided with the bridge railing east of the main span before then striking the main span and knocking it off its piers into the river. Some accounts suggest that because the accident occurred after midnight that the driver may have fallen asleep.

December 10, 1975
The Daily Standard from Sikeston, Missouri • Page 1

FISK - The Highway 60 bridge over the St. Francis River at Fisk collapsed early today after a tractor-trailer truck slammed into a bridge railing and then hit the main span shortly after midnight. The driver of the truck, Bobby Roger Haywood, 31, of Corning, Ark., who received minor injuries, was pinned in the truck for a short time, but managed to free himself and was rescued by someone in a small boat after the truck had catapulted into the river.
The main span collapsed into the water after the truck’s fuel tanks exploded. The highway patrol reported the accident occurred about 12:20 a.m. today when Haywood’s westbound tractor- trailer rig loaded with soap struck the east end of the bridge and continued down the rail before hitting the main span and falling into the water. Haywood freed himself from the truck cab and swam through the bridge wreckage to the surface of the river where he was rescued. Haywood was taken to Doctors Hospital at Poplar Bluff.

Mexico Ledger Newspaper, Mexico Mo Dec 10, 1975 Page 15

Fisk Bridge – struck by Truck – Dec. 10, 1975

A bridge over the Francis River on U.S. 60 at Fisk collapsed shortly after midnight after a tractor- trailer truck slammed into a bridge railing and then hit the main span. The truck driver, Bobby Haywood, 31, of Corning, Ark., escaped with minor injuries. Fisk is in extreme southeast Missouri. Authorities indicated tne bridge had been in need of repairs or replacing for some time, but work was delayed while plans were under consideration for possible relocation of part of U.S. 60 and a new bridge. Traffic on U.S. 60 is being detoured over county roads around Fisk.

December 10, 1975
The Courier News from Blytheville, Arkansas • Page 11

Trucker Cheats Death - A trucker escaped death, crawling from his submerged cab and swimming to safety today after his truck plunged off a bridge into the St. Francis "River near Fisk, according to Missouri State Police. Traffic is being detoured around the bridge on Highway 60 at the east end of Fisk, state police said, as a result of its collapse during the traffic accident early this morning. Bobby Rodger Haywood of Corning, was driving a tractor- trailer west on Highway 60, officers explained, when his truck collided with the east end of the bridge structure. Police said the truck continued across the bridge, scraping along the railing, then struck the main span of the structure and catapulted into the river. The main span then collapsed, falling across the truck and pinning it under the water, officers noted. Haywood escaped the vehicle, whose saddle gasoline tanks had exploded, swam to the top and was rescued, troopers said. Haywood was taken to Doctors' Hospital in Poplar Bluff with moderate injuries, troopers added.

Facts 

Overview
Lost skewed through truss bridge over St. Francis River on MO 51 (Old US 60) at Fisk
Location
Butler County, Missouri, and Stoddard County, Missouri
Status
Main truss span replaced, but original approaches and piers remain
History
Built 1929; main span collapsed Dec. 1975; replaced and reopened Mar. 1976
Builder
- S.J. Cohen Construction Co. of Blytheville, Arkansas
Design
Pratt through truss
Dimensions
Length of largest span: 140.0 ft.
Total length: 331.0 ft.
Deck width: 21.0 ft.
Approximate latitude, longitude
+36.78093, -90.20149   (decimal degrees)
36°46'51" N, 90°12'05" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/749740/4074223 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Fisk
Land survey
T. 25 N., R. 8 E., Sec. 28
Inventory number
BH 20951 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • June 30, 2015: Essay added by Rusty Weisman
  • June 29, 2015: New photo from Rusty Weisman
  • June 24, 2015: New photos from Rusty Weisman

Sources 

  • Complete History of Butler County - Pages 187, 198, 207, and 214
  • Rusty Weisman