Rating:
7 votes

Bird's Nest Bridge

Photos 

Side view

Photo taken by James Baughn

Request this photo

BH Photo #105127

Map 

Diagram 

Facts 

Overview
Through truss bridge over Meramec River on Bird's Nest Road north of Steelville
Location
Crawford County, Missouri
Status
Closed to all traffic and posted against trespassing
History
Built 1914 by Miller & Borcherding Bridge Builders of St. Louis
Builders
- Miller & Borcherding Bridge Builders of St. Louis, Missouri (contractor)
- Stupp Brothers Bridge & Iron Co. of St. Louis, Missouri (fabrication)
- Township Supply Co. of St. Louis, Missouri (pony truss)
Design
From north to south:
One riveted, half-hip Pratt pony truss (added later)
Two steel stringer spans
One pin-connected, 12-panel Pennsylvania through truss
One pin-connected Pratt pony truss
Three steel stringer spans
Dimensions
Length of largest span: 249.9 ft.
Total length: 512.0 ft.
Deck width: 15.1 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 14.2 ft.
Recognition
Eligible for the National Register of Historic Places
Approximate latitude, longitude
+37.99842, -91.35951   (decimal degrees)
37°59'54" N, 91°21'34" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/644038/4206909 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Steelville
Land survey
T. 38 N., R. 4 W., Sec. 21
Average daily traffic (as of 2011)
100
Inventory numbers
MONBI 19098 (Missouri bridge number on the National Bridge Inventory)
BH 21368 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of January 2011)
Overall condition: Poor
Superstructure condition rating: Poor (4 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Serious (3 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 19.2 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • March 17, 2011: Updated by Anthony Dillon: Updated status per forum posting
  • January 5, 2005: Added diagram

Sources 

Comments 

Bird's Nest Bridge
Posted January 18, 2018, by James Baughn (webmaster [at] bridgehunter [dot] com)

The Bird's Nest Bridge did just fine in last year's record-setting flood. The river reached a stage of 28.71 ft. on the USGS gage at Bird's Nest, a full 1.5 feet above the previous record.

http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/hydrograph.php?wfo=lsx&gage=s...

Meanwhile, the idea that the bridge "could damn the river and flood steelville and a whole slew of houses" is preposterous. Looking at the FEMA flood insurance map, in order to threaten a "slew" of houses in Steelville, the Meramec would need to reach approximately 28 feet higher than last year's record.

To accomplish that feat, the entire floodplain of the Meramec would need to be dammed below the mouth of Whittenburg Creek, and the Bird's Nest Bridge doesn't come close to being long enough. More importantly, a dam would need to stand at least 55 feet above the normal river level to hold back enough water to threaten Steelville.

In what universe would it be possible to construct such a dam using only the girders and boards of the Bird's Nest Bridge?

Bird's Nest Bridge
Posted January 18, 2018, by THOMAS E MCQUIGGAN (mcqtomm [at] misn [dot] com)

The bridge was closed by the county as both unsafe for vehicular or pedestrian traffic. it was subsequently purchased by two steelville residents and the Made up "steelville historical society" for obvious reasons.., and has not been repaired. The bridge decking is really bad, and the county felt the bridge could collapse at any time.., 5 years ago.

Since the purchase nothing has been done to the bridge so it has not gotten safer than what the county determined 5 years ago.

The bigger problem is if the bridge gets hit by a flood and knocked over. This is a real possibility since the bridge supports are worn out. with the bridge in the river, it could damn the river and flood steelville and a whole slew of houses.

whose responsible.., the two buyers in my mind..., and the county.., which should never sold a condemned bridge to anyone.

Bird's Nest Bridge
Posted October 9, 2017, by Seth Gaines (sethgaines [at] gmail [dot] com)

Doesn't seem to be posted anymore. Easy access if you park on the south end. Deck timbers look pretty good. The boards to drive on are all rotted and a lot are missing, leaving some lovely rusty nails sticking out. You can also get out on the new rail bridge to get a decent shot from the side. That has a pretty solid catwalk. Looks like most of the plaques have been stolen. Only the 'Township Supply' ones at the north end are still there.

Bird's Nest Bridge
Posted July 20, 2015, by laura (laura049 [at] centurytel [dot] net)

Anyone know if there is an existing picture of the original bridge built there before 1914?

Bird's Nest Bridge
Posted November 12, 2013, by Fmiser (fmiser [at] gmail [dot] com)

I talked to the owners of Bird's Nest Lodge, located at the north end of the bridge. He said the historical society bought the bridge and plans to try to keep it open for pedestrians.

I have not found any online to confirm this, but if it true it's good news!

Bird's Nest Bridge
Posted August 6, 2012, by Fmiser (fmiser [at] gmail [dot] com)

I visited the bridge yesterday. There are baracades blocking automobile traffic. I parked on the south side in the parking lot for the county park. I walked across the bridge, taking pictures and enjoying the old structure. At the north end I spotted a sign saying "No walking on the bridge". Oops. But I didn't feel like making what looked like a more than 5 mile hike to walk the roads back to my car - so a ignored the sign and walked the bridge back south.

While I am certainly not a true bridge inspector, it appears to have not had much maintenance recently. There is a steel rope in place of an eye-bar diagonal. A number of struts are a bit bent. The deck is in rather good condition, though being timber it should be expected to be replaced regularly. Nothing I saw matches the statment in the newspaper article "Given the poor condition of the bridge, it could eventually fall apart and into the river."

Bird's Nest Bridge
Posted April 10, 2012, by David Eike (eikes [at] sbcglobal [dot] net)
Bird's Nest Bridge
Posted August 1, 2011, by Sean Barton (sean_ee02 [at] hotmail [dot] com)

The bridge has not been torn down. I was just there yesterday for a float trip. However, it appears it may be gone this fall:

http://www.mysullivannews.com/2011/05/bird%E2%80%99s-nest-br...

Bird's Nest Bridge
Posted April 24, 2011, by Rich Dinkela (Rich [at] HookedOnRoute66 [dot] com)

I heard through the grapevine that the bridge was torn down recently. Is this true? I posted a photo of the bridge after crossing it in July of 2009. It was spooky, but definitely a beautiful bridge. I remember going under it during a float trip and the dueling banjos song came to mind. Old architecture should be preserved. I agree, build a new structure next to it if they deem it unsafe, but why remove it?

I am going to link this blog to my site at www.HookedOnRoute66.com

-Rich Dinkela

Bird's Nest Bridge
Posted March 18, 2011, by AR (austin [at] misn [dot] com)

I believe this bridge is safe. I know someone who used to drive a beer truck (tractor/trailer) across it all the time, fully loaded with no problems. I also have driven a 24 foot box truck across it many times with no worries at all. Yes, it does make noise when you drive across it with any vehicle, but it is wood that your driving across. Before they closed it they put clearance bars across each end that were 8 ft high which made it only possible for normal vehicles to cross. This is completely safe. This bridge has as much history as the county it resides in and is a landmark. It absolutely should NOT be torn down, nor should the railroad bridge.

There is also a great historic bridge with wood plank in Rolla Missouri near the courthouse that they deemed unsafe a few years back. They made it available for walking still though which was great. The only thing is they completely ruined it by paving over the wood plank. This was pointless since it is now for walking and it just destroyed the looks of it.

Bird's Nest Bridge
Posted March 17, 2011, by Anthony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

If this wonderful span was to be fully rehabilitated, and then cleaned on a regular basis and painted say every 15-20 years it would last indefinitely.

Bird's Nest Bridge
Posted March 17, 2011, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

I am having a little trouble grasping the comments made in this article. If the NBIS ratings for superstructure is Poor and the Substructure is Fair, I fail to see how the bridge is at risk for collapse. And the idea that a rehab would only last 10 years is nonsense. 50-75 years for a comprehensive rehab. If the county wishes to replace this bridge using federal funding they will be responsible for the proper conduct of Section 106.

Bird's Nest Bridge
Posted March 17, 2011, by Cliff Darby (clif30 [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Such an attractive bridge. I hope it can be preserved.

Bird's Nest Bridge
Posted March 17, 2011, by Anthony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Reading the article about this bridge and some of the dumbfounded comments made by the commissioners and engineers left me shaking my head..........

Bird's Nest Bridge
Posted March 17, 2011, by David Eike (eikes [at] sbcglobal [dot] net)

This bridge has been closed to traffic. It's future is undetermined, but grim.

http://www.threeriverspublishing.com/TRP/index.php?option=co...

Bird's Nest Bridge
Posted July 5, 2009, by Robert Miller (bladesmith85 [at] gmail [dot] com)

I have been hearing recent talk about the historic Bird's Nest Bridge being torn down in time to come. This cannot happen. This bridge is a historic landmark just as the railroad bridge right next to it. If the bridge is deemed unsafe, then it should be only closed off for traffic and made available for walking. A new bridge can be constructed beside it. Do NOT allow Bird's Nest Bridge to be destroyed.

Bird's Nest Bridge
Posted July 5, 2009, by Robert Miller (bladesmith85 [at] gmail [dot] com)

I have been hearing recent talk about the historic Bird's Nest Bridge being torn down in time to come. This cannot happen. This bridge is a historic landmark just as the railroad bridge right next to it. If the bridge is deemed unsafe, then it should be only closed off for traffic and made available for walking. A new bridge can be constructed beside it. Do NOT allow Bird's Nest Bridge to be destroyed.