2 votes

Chester Bridge


South side

Photo taken by James Baughn

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BH Photo #102518


Street View 


Through and deck truss bridge over the Mississippi River on MO 51/IL 150 at Chester
Chester, Randolph County, Illinois, and Perry County, Missouri
Open to two-lane traffic
Future prospects
Future options being studied; MoDOT is accepting proposals for reuse
Opened Aug. 23, 1942 as a toll bridge. Main span destroyed by severe thunderstorm July 29, 1944; reopened Aug. 24, 1946. Tolls removed Jan. 1, 1989.
- Massman Construction Co. of Kansas City, Missouri (General contractor)
- Sverdrup & Parcel of St. Louis, Missouri (Consulting engineers)
Main spans: Two-span continuous Warren through truss
Approaches: Warren deck trusses
Length of largest span: 669.8 ft.
Total length: 2,826.4 ft. (0.5 mi.)
Deck width: 22.0 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 19.9 ft.
Eligible for the National Register of Historic Places
Approximate latitude, longitude
+37.90246, -89.83698   (decimal degrees)
37°54'09" N, 89°50'13" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
16/250565/4198787 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Average daily traffic (as of 2017)
Inventory numbers
IL 079-6001 (Illinois bridge number)
MO L0135 (Missouri off-system bridge number)
BH 15626 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of September 2018)
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: 23.9 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • May 25, 2019: New photos from Joe Sonderman
  • February 3, 2019: New photo from Melissa Brand-Welch
  • January 17, 2019: New photo from Melissa Brand-Welch
  • November 25, 2018: New photo from Melissa Brand-Welch
  • August 22, 2017: New photos from Steve Conro
  • May 14, 2017: New photos from James Baughn
  • September 5, 2016: New photo from David Huffman
  • July 24, 2016: New photos from David Huffman
  • November 24, 2013: New photo from John Christeson
  • July 15, 2013: New photos from John Christeson
  • January 16, 2012: New photos from James Baughn
  • May 8, 2009: New photo from Joe Virruso
  • May 30, 2008: New photos from David B. Haun
  • October 17, 2005: Posted additional photos


  • David B. Haun
  • Joe Virruso - virrusofamily [at] att [dot] net
  • James Baughn - webmaster [at] bridgehunter [dot] com
  • Wikipedia
  • John Christeson - john_christeson [at] yahoo [dot] com
  • David Huffman
  • Steve Conro - sconro [at] yahoo [dot] com
  • Chester Bridge Study - Web-site for the Environmental Study being conducted
  • Melissa Brand-Welch - melissabrandwelch [at] msn [dot] com
  • Joe Sonderman


Chester Bridge
Posted August 22, 2017, by David Huffman (davhuffm [at] mindspring [dot] com)
Chester Bridge
Posted January 4, 2016, by CConkle (msplinter1964 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Bridge is closed due to flooding. Should reopen as soon as flooding subsides.

Chester Bridge
Posted June 19, 2013, by LJH (lharding [at] turbonet [dot] com)

What kind of pipeline is that on the Chester Bridge? I find no mention of it in the specs.

Thanks for your help.

Chester Bridge
Posted June 14, 2011, by Michael Watson (msfwatson [at] rogers [dot] com)

In the film (In the Heat of the Night), the bridge appears in a 2-minute segment starting at the 27-minute mark. The first camera angle (see screen capture, apparently shot in the afternoon) is at the east (Illinois) end of the bridge, looking southwest across the Mississippi River. The scene shows a highway sign in the foreground, mounted on the bridge, saying "Mississippi River - Arkansas 49", with the outline of the State of Arkansas, which of course is intended to be the Mississippi-Arkansas state border. In fact, there IS no Arkansas route 49; it is fictional, although there certainly are state routes 48 and 50. Arkansas state highway road signs do show the outline of the state, but (I believe) do not have the word "Arkansas" on them. And of course, the scene is supposed to show the Mississippi side of the bridge, so any highway sign mounted on the bridge would show the Mississippi state highway number, and not the Arkansas highway number, which would pick up only on the far side of the bridge.

The Chester Bridge is 450 km (290 miles) north of Sparta, Mississippi (the real town that is supposed to be the subject of the film), and 27 km (17 miles) south-southwest of the town of Sparta, Illinois, where most of the movie was filmed in the fall of 1967 as a stand-in for its southern namesake. Sidney Poitier would not agree to star in the movie if it was filmed south of the Mason-Dixon line, because of the racial tensions in the south in 1967.

Michael Watson

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Chester Bridge
Posted February 4, 2011, by Matthew Lohry

I would agree; I also think that it should have its own listing, since it is a separate bridge. Being a 1942 steel stringer, it's not the most exciting bridge in the world, but it's old enough to have at least some historic significance, and so should have its own page.

Chester Bridge
Posted February 4, 2011, by Fmiser (fmiser [at] gmail [dot] com)

So does it deserve it's own listing? Seems a bit odd for it to show up in the middle of the of the photos of the Mississippi river bridge.

Chester Bridge
Posted February 4, 2011, by Matthew Lohry


The Chester Bridge's south end terminates on Horse Island, and if you follow 51 to the other side of Horse Island (approx. another 1/4 mile south), the Horse Island Chute Bridge carries 51 off of Horse Island onto the mainland.

Chester Bridge
Posted February 3, 2011, by Fmiser (fmiser [at] gmail [dot] com)

There is a photo of Horse Island Chute bridge. It is quite clear it is not the the truss bridge over the Mississippi river.

But I'm not finding any other listing for it on the site.

So where does it belong?

Chester Bridge
Posted September 21, 2010, by Anonymous

The street view is pretty interesting. In it you can see that the river is flooded and they have set up a traffic light to limit traffic on the bridge.

Chester Bridge
Posted October 7, 2008, by Albert E. Bertram (bertrama [at] sbcglobal [dot] net)

Andy: You are right. It was used as the backdrop when the sheriff and his deputies were chasing the man suspected of killing the industrialist who was going to build a factory in Sparta, Mississippi.

Chester Bridge
Posted November 25, 2007, by Andy (jandyb1971 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

If I am correct this bridge was used in a scene of the movie "In the Heat of the Night," during which a prisoner is seen being being chased from "Mississippi" into "Arkansas".

The movie is set in the town of Sparta, Ms., which in the movie the town of Sparta, Il. was where the filming took place.