2 votes

Lexington Bridge


View from southwest

Photo taken by James Baughn

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BH Photo #105820

Street View 


The street view shows the bluff as one exited the bridge on the south end. Turning left led into Lexington and right led toward Wellington then on into Kansas City. Stairs lead from the road up the bluff to the former main highway running east-west through town.


Lost seven-span through truss bridge over the Missouri River on MO 13 at Lexington
Lafayette County, Missouri, and Ray County, Missouri
Replaced by modern bridge on new bypass alignment
Opened to traffic Oct. 31, 1924; replacement bridge opened June 25, 2005
- J.A.L. Waddell of Port Hope, Canada (Consulting engineer)
- Kansas City Bridge Co. of Kansas City, Missouri (Contractor)
From north to south:
Three 8-panel polygonal Warren through trusses with a Camelback profile
Two 12-panel polygonal Warren through trusses, each 408 feet long
Two 8-panel polygonal Warren through trusses with a Camelback profile
Three 8-panel Warren deck trusses
Multiple deck plate girder spans
Length of largest span: 408.0 ft.
Total length: 3,072.4 ft. (0.6 mi.)
Deck width: 20.0 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 18.1 ft.
Approximate latitude, longitude
+39.18695, -93.89620   (decimal degrees)
39°11'13" N, 93°53'46" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/422600/4337905 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Lexington West
Land survey
T. 51 N., R. 27 W., Sec. 35
Inventory numbers
MoDOT G-55R (Missouri Dept. of Transportation bridge number)
MONBI 4563 (Missouri bridge number on the National Bridge Inventory)
BH 21839 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • May 11, 2022: New photo from Tim Alexander
  • July 13, 2021: New photo from Geoff Hubbs
  • June 7, 2019: New photos from Joe Sonderman
  • August 11, 2014: New Street View added by Clark Vance
  • October 6, 2009: New photo from Mark Frazier
  • January 27, 2009: Added categories
  • July 7, 2008: New photos from Historic American Engineering Record
  • May 24, 2005: Posted all new photos


  • Historic American Engineering Record
  • James Baughn - webmaster [at] bridgehunter [dot] com
  • Mark Frazier - mfrazier404 [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Clark Vance - cvance [at] dogmail [dot] com
  • Joe Sonderman
  • Geoff Hubbs
  • Drew A. Walters - timalexander3634 [at] gmail [dot] com


Lexington Bridge
Posted August 4, 2017, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

This was an awesome bridge! I only drove over it a few times, but it was quite a ride. I never got a chance to photograph it, so I am glad that others did.

Lexington Bridge
Posted August 4, 2017, by Steve

My wife and I moved from West Palm Beach to Minneapolis in 1994. We took a somewhat touristy, indirect route towing our little car with a U-Haul truck. Because of the cumbersome driving I used Interstate Highways more than I prefer to on a cross-country trip (I haven't done many, but a few). I'm glad we chose, on that sunny June morning, the state highway track that led through Lexington and over this bridge. The elegant structure, obviously from another engineering era, evoked nostalgia in me then as a young man, originally from the mid-west and with a natural appreciation for history. I feel nostalgia now, 23 years later, for the bridge, youth, and time now gone -- not a sad sentiment, but instead one both wistful and pleasant.

Lexington Bridge
Posted March 24, 2012, by Ross Brown

Living in Illinois, I had not heard of this bridge until I punched around on this website one day. There have been several cases like the Lexington Bridge in Illinois. The bridge near Seneca was imploded in 2010. It was a three-span truss bridge that was painted green. MoDOT and IDOT came together to rebuild the McKinley Bridge in St. Louis. The McKinley Bridge was in more disrepair than the one in Lexington. They simply closed off the bridge, replaced EVERYTHING, including both approaches, the highway deck, the old railroad trestle (which was turned into a pedestrian walkway) and repaved the roadway leading to it on the Illinois side. It is also narrow with only two lanes. Hearing that the Champ Clark Bridge at Louisiana is scheduled for replacement, it seems now that all of our truss bridges are going away for good.

Lexington Bridge
Posted December 22, 2010, by Scott Lowe (dayoffguy [at] aol [dot] com)

I rem the old Lexington bridge.

The old Lexington bridge and the old Waverly missouri bridge always reminded me of the bridges in the movie, "A Bridge too Far".

I always wanted to get some military vehicles and roll across both bridges like in the movie!

Both bridges are in memory now..

Lexington Bridge
Posted December 18, 2010, by Greg (gbh2000 [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Site of former Lexington Bridge after clean-up, as seen on 6/16/07. Image Greg Hurt.

Lexington Bridge
Posted November 9, 2010, by John Ruby

My brother and I took a long trip on our motorcycles in the early summer of 2000. We began in Minnesota and drove through the heart of Missouri. The trip itself was an amazing experience, but the drive across the bridge into Lexington bears specific mention. I will forever remember the drive south into Lexington, which was marked with a combination of terror and wonder, as I crossed the bridge on my motorcycle. I was simply mesmerized by the view of the river, which thankfully overrode my fear of heights. This view was enhanced by the narrow and beautiful confines of that bridge. All of this was topped off by a memorial stairway that seemed to climb the hillside into the clouds. I only drove that bridge once, and the memory of it has been seered into the brain of a person that can't easily remember birthdays. I am sorry that the bridge was replaced, but grateful that I had the opportunity to view that particular portrait.

Lexington Bridge
Posted March 30, 2009, by H.Harper (1ffighterchick [at] mocospace [dot] com)

I remember going to my grand parents house as a little girl. We are from Michigan, so it made for a long journey. I would always try to plan my 'sleep' time around the time we would be going over the bridge, as the fear of ot getting totally across. If by chance i was awake, i would try to hide my eyes, still peaking out though. I was actually upset to find out from my sister that the bridge had been torn down, as now, the History is torn down with it, and honostly why, was it for the person who has the new bridge to always have something to follow them? that is so sad, and self indulging! A bridge that held so many memories, and even more yet, HISTORY! Where I am from, we keep Historical sites, so that later generations can hold a part of times befor them, and feel the connection through out the time lines. I am sorry that History (for all involved in the demolition) is not held on to and embraced!

Lexington Bridge
Posted March 16, 2009, by David Smothers (davidsmothers [at] msn [dot] com)

Glen, the Missouri legislature approved 2 cent increases to the gas tax in 1992, 1996, and 1998 to increase funding for roads and bridges, and then they mismanaged the money... the stories of it were all over the news, don't tell me you don't remember that? They didn't have the money to fix the old bridge, yet they had the money to build a new one? Even if they HAD to build a new bridge, why not one like the one that was built on 291 highway in 1996? Or like the twin bridges in Chesterfield that were built in 1992? Ones that aren't featureless slabs... ones where you can SEE THE RIVER when you drive across it!! Missouri's rivers are a big tourist attrraction, our license plates even denoted that for YEARS. And if you were to build the bridge where the old one USED TO BE, the state would not have had to STEAL anyone's land to do it!!

Lexington Bridge
Posted March 15, 2009, by Glen L. Parkes (GLP_bass [at] yahoo [dot] com)

I grew up in Richmond, I now work for MODOT bridge crew. I take pride in the work i do repairing the decks of the bridges. Modot did not have funding for the maintenace on its bridges like the Golden gate does,they have a crew that works there 24-7 . We cant do that. Missori has some of the lowest taxes in the US for roads and bridges. If you want MODOT to take better care of them it will cost more money in taxes.Maybe MODOT could have kept it for a walk bridge but the liabilty might have been too great. It was a historic site yes and I too miss the old things from my past.One of my fellow workers was jackhammering on the deck, he just stepped away, and the spot where he was working fell out, there was no steel left in the concrete. We almost lost one of our own that day.I could go on how bad the shape of the bridge was in. People always blame MODOT but we do the best we can with the funds we have.I froze,sweat,and blead working on that bridge.

Lexington Bridge
Posted February 18, 2009, by Anonymous (john4kc [at] hotmail [dot] com)

I miss the bridge myself. Luckily, I did make a short video of it that you can see here if you like back in 2001. It's not the best but at least I have it. I grew up in Kansas City and didn't have too many opportunities to cross it but it left an impression on me. Between the narrow lanes, the angle in the decking and the dramatic memorial at the end, it was quite a treat.


Lexington Bridge
Posted February 4, 2009, by Anonymous

The first time i ever crossed this old bridge was about a year before it was torn down. I never thought i would ever see the day i would overcome my fear of bridges looking back i am proud that this bridge will be the most rembered bridge in my life

Lexington Bridge
Posted October 11, 2008, by Darnal (Darnal_2000 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

First I just want to say that as a little girl I used to cross that historic bridge to richmond to see my grandma. I have many fond memories of it. Now I am living in Oregon, and just found out that it's been gone for awhile. I was looking forward to taking my son out there one day and showing him a great piece of structual history, not to mention a piece of my own. I don't understand why if matience to that bridge was out of the question, why it still couldn't be kept standing, yet closed off. For tourists purposes/ pedistrian walkways. Now lexington has lost a valuable piece of history that can never be replaced, all in the name of progress. I have to admit that I think the naming of the new bridge under that governor's name is distasteful. Especially with the colorful history of the town, I think they could come up with a better name then that. Although I don't understand how something can be listed as a historic bridge, but can still be torn down? Why don't we just tear down all other historic sites, and remove our history, and hertiage while we're at it, since little to effort was put put into saving this one. I think I'll bypass lexington, and just take my son to Bothwell Lodge instead.

Lexington Bridge
Posted October 3, 2008, by David Smothers (davidsmothers [at] msn [dot] com)

I drove through Lexington last week, and it was depressing to see the bridge gone. I never had trouble driving over it. The new bridge bypasses downtown Lexington, I wonder how all the business owners of the many antique stores feel about that? And who's idiotic idea was it to name the new on the Ike Skelton bridge? I don't think bridges should EVER bear the name of a politician, but then again, the new bridge is featureless and ugly, and Ike Skelton has a face like a can opener, so I guess the two go together. I agree that the what was done on 291 at Liberty is the gold standard for bridge matininence and design of a new one. Think about how much money they had to pay an engineering company to desig that new bridge, when they simply could have built a new bridge with the original blueprints (only slgiht adjustments in the design to make the bridge 6 feet wider)

Lexington Bridge
Posted August 6, 2008, by John Fanning (showmejohn2221 [at] aol [dot] com)

I spent my chidhood growing up in Ray county and the Lexington bridge still brings back many fond memories!! I remember so many times riding or driving across that bridge and "Sitting light" thinking that the bridge looked so insubstantial, but it always got us across in good shape. It is such a shame that it is scheduled to be demolished, it is such a big part of local history!!

Lexington Bridge
Posted August 21, 2007, by C. Kasten (kastenccc [at] yahoo [dot] com)

I travelled this bridge the fall of 2004. I was thinking it had some of the metal decking that you can see thru.

I was carrying a football team. Several were hollering that it was going to fall down with us. We made it across just fine. I was thankfull that we did not meet another large vehicle.

Lexington Bridge
Posted June 23, 2006, by D. Zarda (spam- [at] dz [dot] com)

As the one year anniversary approaches tomorrow of the official closing of the old bridge and the opening of that new piece of crap, I still feel bitter about it being gone. I live 2 miles from the old bridge. It was so beautiful and I still cannot believe it is not there to see. I really enjoyed it. I have been all over the country and it was one of my favorite bridges. It was not structurally weak at all. I live at the airport in Henrietta and the head hauncho in charge of the demolition flew into that airport to oversee the project in his personal aircraft and told me straight out that bridge was strong. They had to blow one section twice just to get it to come down and it still held together. So much for all the claims that it was going to fall apart one day. We will never understand the stupidity of the powers at be nowadays. They tear down everything now of historic value. The Richmond high school, Woodson School, Lexington middle school all in last few months. There will be nothing left for our grandkids to see. A crime on history.

Lexington Bridge
Posted June 19, 2006, by Shawn Ward (skward6773 [at] mchsi [dot] com)

Like many others I have had many mixed emotions about this bridge and it's sad ending.However,I will not absolutely not miss driving on that bridge at all. It was a terror of terrors driving on that thing when a tractor trailer was coming in the other direction.

However my Grandfather worked on that bridge in the twenties as they were building it. He lived in Napeoleon and my Grandmother's family was from Camden. So as you can imagine that bridge helped the families. So my family put sweat equity into that thing.

Being in the Navy and traveling home many a time to the Richmond area going over that bridge always signaled that home was no more than 10 minutes away after a long drive from either Charleston, Norfolk or Mayport. So it did give me some fond memories.

Sadly near the end it's shape was the worst shape I have ever seen any bridge in my many travels around the world. I was scared everytime I crossed it that it might fall apart with the poor maintenance giving it over the last two decades of it's existence. With relatives that work at MODOT I will be nice to them as it was clear near the end that money was not to be had to for any maintenance for the bridge. Even if it had good maintenace it was limited in it's lifespan by it's physical structure with no way possible to expand it's lanes and very limited ability to increase it's load bearing capacity.

So Adios Old Gal and we certainly got every last penny out of ya!

Lexington Bridge
Posted February 25, 2006, by Joseph O. Simmons (joedeb1026 [at] iland [dot] net)

I must agree with most of the people that have made comments about this bridge. Yes, in the latter years of its life, it was structurally deficient. Yet, it did not have to be in that condition if MODOT had taken the time to do preventive maintenance on it. I see the beautiful and well maintained bridge on 291 at Liberty, and I wonder just why somebody in their right mind at MODOT decided to save that bridge and destroy the one at Lexington? Granted, keeping it maintained for vehicle traffic would have been almost impossible, given the size and weight of the big rigs and busses, and the traffic flow in downtown Lexington, where MO 13 went, but it could have been maintained by MODOT for pedestrian/bicycle use or something like that. Now, we will never see beautiful bridges like the old Lex Bridge anymore on the Missouri River. Yes, we need progress, but at this price? If the Golden Gate can be maintained so beautifully, then why not bridges like the old Lex Bridge? I will truly miss her.

Lexington Bridge
Posted December 31, 2005, by Jason Woodson (jaybird33_97 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

Can't say I'm going to miss having to cross this bridge, especially when going to Richmond or Carollton on a school bus. The shame is that over the last couple decades MoDOT let this bridge go so much that it was not good for anything but scrap. The new bridge was badly needed but the old bridge could have been used for bikes or as an alternate route. If Mo DOT would maintain the things it has, maybe taxpayers would be more willing to build new highways and bridges.

Lexington Bridge
Posted October 25, 2005, by Chris Bollinger (myangel_elizabeth [at] yahoo [dot] com)

I fully understand how people feel about Lexington Bridge. We lost our beloved bridge in Cape Girardeau. Its replacement is homely at best, (concrete and plastic covered cables. NICE!) People down here bought the lies of local authority hook, line, and sinker. The biggest waste of money we have in this state is MODOT. The new bridge doesn't have any class or personality at all. The only thing MODOT is good at is messing up traffic signals. They're educated people. IDIOTS!

Lexington Bridge
Posted October 19, 2005, by Dan Thieman (dandantheechoman [at] yahoo [dot] com)

I remember crossing this bridge as a young child to go to Richmond to see my great-grandmother. My grandfathers and grandmothers told many stories about the construction of the bridge and it was always a treat to cross the Mighty Mo on this bridge. It is sad that they had do destroy the beautiful iron structure. Crossing the river won't be the same. Too bad the state didn't do with the bridge at Lexington like they did with the Liberty bridge on 291.

Lexington Bridge
Posted September 21, 2005, by BILL HARMON (salem_illinois [at] sbcglobal [dot] net)


Lexington Bridge
Posted September 12, 2005, by Alan Anzalone

Thankyou for those amazing shots. I live about 2 hours away and was hoping to take some pics myself before they foolishly destroy this piece of history. I used to drive to Lexington just to see and cross that old bridge but now, by demolishing it, I guess I'll never need to go to Lex again. By the way, whose idiotic idea was it to destroy it anyway. Whoever it was SHAME ON YOU!!!

Lexington Bridge
Posted August 18, 2005, by D. Zarda (spam-for-mom [at] donzarda [dot] com)

I think it is a crime on history to tear down the bridge. I live 4 miles away and it has served me well. It could have easily been maintained had MODOT not squandered so much money on improperly built new bridges (ie: new lexington bridge). It will be blown up the ten days here at the end of August I will be gone. Just as well, it would have upset me to hear the explosions. I think that Ike Skelton and the people at MODOT that made this terrible decision to tear it down, ought to be standing on it when it goes down! This bridge could easily have lasted another hundred years with a little TLC. And for the people that complained about it being to old, rickety and narrow, learn to drive!

Lexington Bridge
Posted July 26, 2005, by Eric Anderson

I grew up in Richmond and spent many white-knuckle moments in my early driving career on the Lexington Bridge. I'm heartbroken that the bridge is scheduled to be demolished. It seems to me that, had the bridge been as well-maintained as the bridge over the Missouri River in Glasgow, there would have been no need to replace it.

Well, time marches on. Thanks for providing some great photos of a beautiful old bridge.