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La Plata Viaduct

Photos 

Overview

Photo taken by Daniel Barnes in April 2018

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BH Photo #425171

Map 

Street View 

Documents 

La Plata Home Press, 1935

PDF (138 KB)

Posted by Rusty Weisman

1935 newspaper article from the local paper the La Plata Home Press describing the new bridge

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La Plata Home Press, 1935

PDF (295 KB)

Posted by Rusty Weisman

Bridge construction delayed by redesign to include sidewalk - and by need for donation of ROW

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Description 

Construction began on Monday Dec. 16, 1935. The bridge was built by local men at a cost of $60,000 - $23,000 of which came from the WPA. Some $4-5,000 was expected to be spent on local labor. (La Plata Home Press (22 Aug, 1935). Construction delays earlier that year were due to a redesign based on public demand that the bridge include a sidewalk for pedestrians and by the need to obtain the necessary new ROW by donation, since the WPA would not pay for ROW. A public dedication of the bridge was held on September 24, 1936 at 7:30 pm. The LaPlata Home Press (1 Oct 1936) reported that the dedication was attended by about 500 people. The bridge dedication included a tap dancing competition by local children as well as a old time fiddle contest. O. S. Wheatcroft was the master of ceremonies. Mayor of Kirksville G. A. Jacobs and Division Engineer H. M. Brush participated in the dedication along with La Plata mayor Mack Derr who cut the ribbon to allow the first traffic to pass. Following the dedication there was a celebration in the town square that included two dance bands and a screening of Lester Dent's Caribbean Treasure Hunting film. Lester Dent was credited in the La Plata Press with much of the success for the event. Dent whose parents lived northeast of La Plata was the celebrated author of the Doc Savage pulp fiction novels that had gained enormous popularity following publication of the first novel "The Man of Bronze" in 1933. Dent is credited with inspiring numerous comic book heroes, including Superman, Batman, and the Fantastic Four. His Doc Savage character was also the inspiration for the emotional control of Mr. Spock, the distinctive look and backstory of Indiana Jones as well as the hi-tech gadgets popularized in James Bond films.

In the 1920s, Dent walked to school in La Plata, crossing the tracks here on an 18' wide wood and steel structure that was built by the county in 1916 and was replaced by this bridge. That earlier bridge had a 100' steel main span with 2 bents and steep wooden approach spans (3 bents on each side). The 1916 road bridge had no side walk and was dangerous for pedestrians. It seems that Dent may have been among those responsible for insisting that bridge K-0516 be redesigned to include a sidewalk.

This structure is slated for replacement in 2020. An effort is underway to dedicate the replacement structure to Lester Dent.

Facts 

Overview
Concrete tee beam bridge over BNSF Railway on Route D (N. Brown Street)
Location
La Plata, Macon County, Missouri
Status
Open to traffic
History
Built 1935-36
Builders
- A.C. Longfield
- WPA
Design
Concrete tee beam
Dimensions
Length of largest span: 52.2 ft.
Total length: 183.1 ft.
Deck width: 22.0 ft.
Approximate latitude, longitude
+40.03007, -92.48831   (decimal degrees)
40°01'48" N, 92°29'18" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/543658/4431220 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
La Plata
Land survey
T. 60 N., R. 14 W., Sec. 5
Average daily traffic (as of 2016)
2,122
Inventory numbers
MONBI 5845 (Missouri bridge number on the National Bridge Inventory)
MoDOT K-516 (Missouri Dept. of Transportation bridge number)
BH 69241 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of September 2017)
Overall condition: Poor
Superstructure condition rating: Poor (4 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Poor (4 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Poor (4 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 2 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • May 31, 2019: Document added by Rusty Weisman
  • April 23, 2018: New photos from Daniel Barnes
  • December 10, 2016: New Street View added by James Baughn
  • September 17, 2015: Added by James Baughn

Sources 

  • Daniel Barnes
  • Rusty Weisman