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Blanchette Bridge

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Photos 

Side view from downstream

Photo taken by James Baughn in March 2009

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Facts 

Overview
Pair of cantilevered through truss bridges over the Missouri River on I-70 at St. Charles
Location
St. Charles, St. Charles County, Missouri, and St. Louis County, Missouri
Status
Open to traffic
History
Original westbound bridge built in 1958; eastbound bridge built in 1978. Westbound bridge closed November 4th, 2012 and reopened to traffic on August 11th, 2013.
Design
Cantilevered Warren through truss
Dimensions
Length of largest span: 480.0 ft.
Total length: 4,083.2 ft. (0.8 mi.)
Deck width: 67.9 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 19.8 ft.
Approximate latitude, longitude
+38.76412, -90.48242   (decimal degrees)
38°45'51" N, 90°28'57" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/718739/4293610 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Saint Charles
Land survey
T. 47 N., R. 5 E., Sec. 32
Inventory numbers
MoDOT L-05616 (Missouri Dept. of Transportation bridge number)
MONBI 6672 (Missouri bridge number on the National Bridge Inventory)
MONBI 2784 (Missouri bridge number on the National Bridge Inventory)
BH 22568 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection (as of 07/2012)
Deck condition rating: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Superstructure condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Good (7 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 71.5 (out of 100)
Average daily traffic (as of 2012)
153,801

Update Log 

  • August 16, 2013: Updated by Mark Dellbringge: Updated history.
  • November 17, 2012: Updated by Luke Harden: Removed "closed November 4th, 2012 for reconstruction. " from being betwixt the build dates for the 58 & 78 spans.
  • November 5, 2012: Updated by Mark Dellbringge: Incorporated data from NBI for eastbound 1978 bridge as 1958 westbound bridge data no longer applies.
  • August 21, 2011: New photos from Ben Tate
  • February 7, 2011: Updated by Nathan Holth: Corrected future prospects to reflect risk of demolition.
  • July 31, 2010: Updated by Mark Dellbringge: Updated future prospects
  • March 10, 2009: New photos from James Baughn
  • June 4, 2008: New photos from James Baughn
  • January 23, 2006: Posted new photos

Sources 

Comments 

Blanchette Bridge
Posted December 4, 2012, by Anonymous

The now former westbound Blanchette bridge even has a "Meets minimum tolerable limits to be left in place as is" in "Structural appraisal" portion of the NBI.

I do think a new bridge is needed at for Highway 40 (Boone Bridge) - the current westbound bridge is wide for a 1930's bridge but has been striped for three ten foot lanes with no shoulders. It's a bottleneck and causes a lot of accidents.

That being said, why MODOT insists on tearing down the existing bridge, I don't know. The new bridge will be built on the other side of the 1990's eastbound span, so the Boone bridge isn't in the way. Furthermore, local groups have shown interest in using the bridge in a trail project.

I wonder if some cost cutting engineer (i.e. leech) decided that recovering the scrap metal from the old bridge was the easiest way to drive the cost of project closer to zero.

The "worried about liability" and "Bridge needs repair" arguments don't hold much water when you look at the Old Chain of Rocks bridge. No one tore it down because there was no money to do so even though it was in similar if not worse shape than the Boone bridge and now it's a well-liked attraction in the St. Louis area.

Blanchette Bridge
Posted December 4, 2012, by Matt Lohry

Well, if "costing too much to keep it open" was the reason for replacement, then they ARE idiots...if they had properly maintained it in the first place, it would cost far less to keep it open!

Blanchette Bridge
Posted December 4, 2012, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

On a housekeeping note, why are the two bridges here listed as a single bridge? With the now-demolished Blanchette Bridge, listing the bridge as "Lost" is appropriate, however, because the modern truss next to it is not being replaced, listing this entry as "Lost" would be misleading.

Blanchette Bridge
Posted December 4, 2012, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

I don't know where these "costing too much" statements come from. I suspect from MoDOT who would fabricate such statements to secure free federal money. In my state of Michigan we have several monumental size bridges (two international crossings) with construction dates ranging from the 1930s to the 1960s including two cantilever truss bridges. Both Michigan and Ontario have found that these bridges have not even come close to the end of their service life. They cause no unusual maintenance costs. One of the bridges, the Blue Water Bridge, carries one-way freeway traffic and is one of the busiest international crossings in the United States. The 1938 bridge has a 25 year maintenance plan in place, indicating that this bridge would be in service nearly twice as long as MoDOT gave the Blanchette Bridge.

Blanchette Bridge
Posted December 4, 2012, by Jim (poorswimdad-government [at] yahoo [dot] com)

Hey John Rogger, MODOT is going to replace the I-64 span beginning this Spring so I would say they are not idiots. The original Blanchette span was worn out and costing too much to keep it open.

http://www.modot.org/stlouis/major_projects/newdanielboonebr...

Blanchette Bridge
Posted December 4, 2012, by jayhawk
Blanchette Bridge
Posted November 19, 2012, by Kim Harvey

http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/metro/bridge-section-fall... is the link

Warning: images are graphic

Blanchette Bridge
Posted November 19, 2012, by John Rogger (johntherogger [at] gmail [dot] com)

I love how they tear down this bridge, which wasn't needed since it was 4 lanes in good shape. They could have done something with 64's bridge which is narrow 3 lanes and NEEDS to be replaced.

Idiots

Blanchette Bridge
Posted November 18, 2012, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

MoDOT doesn't know what "rehabilitation" actually means because they have never done it. Explaining rehabilitation to MoDOT would be like explaining Calculus to a preschooler.

Blanchette Bridge
Posted November 18, 2012, by Kim Harvey

the first portion of the 1958 span was dropped in the river less than a half hour ago. The next portion will be dropped the first Sunday of December

Blanchette Bridge
Posted November 17, 2012, by Anonymous

It will be a through truss matching the more recent span. I think there are some deck truss approach spans that will be replaced with embankments or girders.

I'm not sure why MODOT keeps calling this a "rehabilitation" project - they're replacing the whole bridge!

Blanchette Bridge
Posted November 16, 2012, by Anonymous

Oops, that link isn't working now for some reason... try this one:

http://www.kmov.com/traffic/Blasting-to-begin-on-Blanchette-...

Also in another article, KMOV reported that "Officials say the concrete pillars going into the river are the only things that will stay intact, as 75 percent of the structure will be torn down and replaced." Looks like it's getting the Glasgow treatment...

Anyone heard yet on what type of structure will replace the westbound bridge? Another steel through truss? Simple UCEB?

Blanchette Bridge
Posted November 16, 2012, by John O (bigtex144 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

Looks like the first section of the westbound bridge will be demolished tomorrow:

http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/metro/interstate-to-close...

Blanchette Bridge
Posted November 14, 2011, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

I am attaching comments I submitted to MoDOT during the development of this project which describe in detail why I strongly believe that the alternatives which would have preserved this historic bridge could and should have been chosen. MoDOT had an opportunity to preserve this bridge, but refused to take that path.

Attachment #1 (application/pdf; 332,314 bytes)

Blanchette Bridge
Posted November 14, 2011, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Mr. Erikson:

Yes, under Eisenhower, official tax rates were higher, but there were also many more loopholes available, so nobody actually paid those tax rates. The effective rates were much lower under Eisenhower than they are today.

Tax cuts have different effects in different economic classes. As you mentioned, the poor will spend thier tax cuts, which does stimulate the economy, but the rich will also spend theirs. What the rich tend to do with their tax cuts is to create businesses which employ other individuals. Thus, tax cuts stimulate the economy regardless of which classes receive them. The $1000 dollar example applies to some of the tax rebate gimmicks used by both parties which are largely ineffective at the higher classes. That is why sustained and substantial tax cuts, not gimmicks are more effective for economic stimulation

The Bush tax cuts probably helped us recover so quickly from the very brief recession following 9/11. They put money back in the hands of people of all class levels who could quickly put the money back into the economy as described above. If you make several million per year, you got a tax cut. If you make 30K, you got a tax cut.

Money tends to go where it is treated well. If the USA will allow people to create wealth, money will come here. If we pass confiscatory tax hikes, that money will go elsewhere. (This is a good discussion. I like this kind of respectful political discussion).

Blanchette Bridge
Posted November 14, 2011, by K. A. Erickson

Sorry Robert I am going to disagree on this. The Bush Tax cuts were a disaster. It was tried and it failed but some folks in DC thought to continue bad policy. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting it to change. Under Eisenhower the rates were 90% and he put people to work building infrastructure.

The rich took the tax cut money and offshored it. That is what they will always do no matter what the rate is. If they don't like paying it they are free to move Somalia where bad behavior, ex. piracy, is rewarded.

In case you have not noticed charities are having a hard time too. Wait for the Salvation Army to help? Take a number.

You give a poor person a $1000 they go out a spend it on food, paying off debt, housing, clothing. Who happens to own the land, the resources, and manufacturing? The rich. So the money goes to them in the end anyways. You give a rich person $1000 and they use it to "influence" a member of congress to repeal clean campaign laws or pass another "free trade" agreement. Or they may stick it in their sock drawer. Either way that does not help the economy or you or I, unless you are a card carrying member of the 1% and then I apologize.

Blanchette Bridge
Posted November 14, 2011, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Tax cuts for the rich can actually increase revenue, as strange as that may sound on the surface. When tax laws become too confiscatory, it becomes more tempting for the rich and the upper middle classes to either offshore the money, or pay a superstar CPA to find shelters.

If taxes are relatively low on the rich, it becomes easier to simply pay the tax, hence revenue actually comes into the government instead of going offshore.

Addtionally, lower taxes on the rich encourage them to re-invest their capital into the market (ie create jobs) and give higher donations to charity.

I support many types of tax reform, but just simply socking the rich is not going to provide more money for road maintenance, etc. All it would accomplish is changing behaviors for the worse.

Blanchette Bridge
Posted November 14, 2011, by K. A. Erickson

Yes Mark but according to one architect, his creations would last a thousand years if properly maintained. Alas, we need the funding for that since all the money that should be there has been frittered away on blowing up third world nations and tax cuts for the rich. A colleague in the UK would think it ludicrous to replace after less than 50 years of service but that is quite common if not the norm in the states.

Blanchette Bridge
Posted November 13, 2011, by Luke Harden (lmharden [at] iastate [dot] edu)

Or anyone at an engineering or construction firm.

Blanchette Bridge
Posted November 13, 2011, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

I think we are all in agreement with you James...it's just the henchmen from MoDOT that you have to worry about!

Blanchette Bridge
Posted November 13, 2011, by James Wireman (jameslovesbridges_86 [at] ymail [dot] com)

Pardon Me But, I really Don't Believe that the Blanchette Bridge On I-70 Needs replaced. I think It just needs A Major Fix up and A Paint job. So My Debete is don't even Think about replaceing that Bridge. That is a perfectly great looking Historic Bridge for an Interstate. I don't want anyone to completely destroy this historic bridge. Do you all understand?

Blanchette Bridge
Posted February 8, 2011, by Mark Dellbringge (markdellbringge [at] netzero [dot] net)

Does anyone out there archive prior editions of the spiral-bound Wunnenberg's Street Maps for St. Charles / St. Louis Counties? (The "Bible" by which all other local street guides are judged) - One edition quite a while back had as its cover photo the original 1958 bridge crossing, showing two lanes in each direction.

MoDOT's website also features vintage pictures of the bridge construction.

Blanchette Bridge
Posted February 8, 2011, by Mark Dellbringge (markdellbringge [at] netzero [dot] net)

MoDOT says "major river crossings are designed to last 100 years with a complete overhaul required at 50 years." In this case, the westbound rehab (and possibly demolition / replacement) is long overdue.

Blanchette Bridge
Posted January 26, 2011, by Kim Harvey

MoDOT just posted this video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=exO19I8S58Y

Blanchette Bridge
Posted July 29, 2010, by Sharon Spear (sweetsexysharon [at] gmail [dot] com)

Mo-DOT has announced plans for a year long shut down of the westbound span for repairs.

The article can be read here:

http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/stcharles/article_a10afc1...