2 votes

Old US 50 Viaduct


Deck view

Photo taken by James Baughn

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BH Photo #105092

Street View 


This is the easternmost bridge on a stretch of old US 50. This bridge and the road beyond are a hidden gem. US 50 bypassed this section before it received any modernization, so it still has the original surface, gutters, and drains as built when Bonnie and Clyde were just kids. On stretches of this road one can get the feel of what it was like driving on an ultra-modern highway during the roaring twenties. One of the bridges failed and has been replaced, but this bridge and two others are an outdoor museum hidden just off the main road in central Missouri.


Tee beam bridge over the Union Pacific Railroad on Old US 50, just north of current US 50
Cooper County, Missouri
Replaced by a new bridge
Built 1924
- Union Pacific Railroad (UP)
Concrete tee beam
Length of largest span: 40.0 ft.
Total length: 77.1 ft.
Deck width: 20.0 ft.
Approximate latitude, longitude
+38.68802, -92.91607   (decimal degrees)
38°41'17" N, 92°54'58" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/507299/4282159 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Otterville East
Land survey
T. 45 N., R. 18 W., Sec. 5
Average daily traffic (as of 2008)
Inventory numbers
MoDOT G-703 (Missouri Dept. of Transportation bridge number)
MONBI 22198 (Missouri bridge number on the National Bridge Inventory)
BH 21359 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of March 2008)
Overall condition: Poor
Superstructure condition rating: Poor (4 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Poor (4 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 33 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • September 4, 2014: New Street View added by Clark Vance
  • July 16, 2012: New photo from Clark Vance
  • July 7, 2012: Updated by Clark Vance: Noted as lost from comment
  • June 10, 2011: Essay added by Eric Kinkhorst
  • June 9, 2011: Updated by Clark Vance: Added description and history note
  • February 5, 2007: Posted new photos

Related Bridges 


  • Clark Vance - cvance [at] dogmail [dot] com
  • Eric Kinkhorst - erick [dot] bud [at] gmail [dot] com


Old US 50 Viaduct
Posted December 15, 2012, by jayhawk

Based on old maps, the pavement on this stretch of old US50 is from 1932 or 1933 - parts of US50 (including this one) are shown as gravel roads on the 1932 map but all of it is paved in the 1933 map. It's interesting that this concrete bridge served a gravel road for about ten years.

Old US 50 Viaduct
Posted August 3, 2012, by jayhawk

Here are a couple through-the-windshield pictures of the new bridge:

Old US 50 Viaduct
Posted July 16, 2012, by Clark Vance (cvance [at] dogmail [dot] com)

I got by to see the new bridge and "ugly" is mild. My thought is that this was replaced by or at least with the encouragement of the railroad. The tall chain link railings are almost certainly there to prevent things from being thrown from the roadway to the tracks below. I didn't look under this particular bridge when I was there two years ago but I've seen junk as big as 25" televisions lying under other rail overpasses. Hillbilly fun, I suppose....

Old US 50 Viaduct
Posted May 26, 2012, by Anonymous

This bridge is gone!

It's been replaced with the ugliest bridge I've ever seen - there are chain link fences on top of the jersey barrier style railings.

The very cool pavement continues from the east junction with US50 to county highway A. Between there and the west junction with US50, the original pavement has a layer of asphalt, buy you can still see the curbs peeking out.

The open spandrel arch bridge to the west of this bridge is still there and (bsides a lot of graffiti) looks like it's in pretty good shape.

Old US 50 Viaduct
Posted June 10, 2011, by Eric Kinkhorst (e [dot] kinkhorst [at] centurytel [dot] net)

This is a really cool stretch of old 50. Actually, from KC to St. Louis there are many old alignments of 50 still opened to traffic.

Old US 50 Viaduct
Posted June 10, 2011, by Clark Vance (cvance [at] dogmail [dot] com)

I'll put the non-bridge pictures in a comment.

These roads had drains for the curbs at the low spots. A lot of city streets still use curbs with drains, but there are problems with puddling.

I drove similar stretches of 50 and 63 between KC and Rolla and I don't recall serious drainage problems. Cars could drive these roads OK but the big semis would crowd the center line to avoid the curbs, making driving a lot more challenging.

I miss driving these old roads but I don't miss sharing them with a lot of traffic.

Webmaster's note: The photos that were here have been incorporated into the main site.

Old US 50 Viaduct
Posted June 10, 2011, by Jodi Christman

Interesting--they don't make them like that anymore--and there's a reason. The curbs don't drain water well. I'm sure that contributes to some accidents too.

Old US 50 Viaduct
Posted June 9, 2011, by Jim Grey (mobilene [at] gmail [dot] com)

Check out the curbs on that highway. I hear those tended to cause accidents as people would bank onto them accidentally, then overcorrect and end up partially in the oncoming lane.