2 votes

US61 Old Appleton Bridge


Side view

Photo taken by James Baughn

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BH Photo #104680

Street View 


Pony truss bridge over Apple Creek on US 61 at Old Appleton
Old Appleton, Cape Girardeau County, Missouri, and Perry County, Missouri
Replaced by a new bridge
Built 1931; Replaced 2011
Riveted, 10-panel Warren pony truss with alternating verticals
Length of largest span: 90.6 ft.
Total length: 189.0 ft.
Deck width: 20.0 ft.
Also called
US61 Apple Creek Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+37.59692, -89.71466   (decimal degrees)
37°35'49" N, 89°42'53" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
16/260338/4164559 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Oak Ridge
Land survey
T. 33 N., R. 12 E., Sec. 4
Average daily traffic (as of 2009)
Inventory numbers
MoDOT H-519 (Missouri Dept. of Transportation bridge number)
MONBI 5018 (Missouri bridge number on the National Bridge Inventory)
BH 21117 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of December 2009)
Overall condition: Poor
Superstructure condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Poor (4 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 32.2 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • August 9, 2011: Updated by David Backlin: Bridge has been replaced
  • July 28, 2011: New photo from John Christeson
  • February 12, 2005: Posted all new photos


  • John Christeson - john_christeson [at] yahoo [dot] com
  • David Backlin - us71 [at] cox [dot] net


Old Appleton US 61 Bridge
Posted September 11, 2012, by Anonymous (tillerman61 [at] gmail)

I have to agree with Mr. Vance's comments about the lack of love for the Old Appleton US 61 bridge. My family is from the area and at least in my family this was not a popular bridge due to its narrow size and its location. I think I would be safe to say that in that area the replacement of that bridge with a wider bridge was welcomed. I thought it was a petty little bridge over the Apple Creek, but driving over it was a different story.

Old Appleton US 61 Bridge
Posted September 2, 2012, by Julie Bowers (jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Until we start seeing estimates for repair as well as replacement we will never know the economic costs for a new concrete bridge that will not last nearly as long as the one replaced.

I keep hearing the height and width restrictions as a phrase used by engineers. Funny as a pony truss has no height restrictions.

I need to read this Safe and Sound bridge report.

While I agree with Clark that a bridge is designed to connect, tearing them all down just for progress seems to have very little to do with safety or the bottom line.

I am going to start following the money.

Old Appleton US 61 Bridge
Posted September 1, 2012, by Clark Vance (cvance [at] dogmail [dot] com)

"Job creation" is certainly a factor that influences decisions to replace rather than save old bridges. There are also valid reasons for replacing and choosing not to restore, bypass or relocate.

The primary purpose of a bridge is to link people. Many serve well and come to have pleasant associations for the people who use them.

This bridge seems to have been the site of enough harm to people that the local memories of it are not particularly pleasant. If it were a well loved part of the community then it might be worth the extra expense of saving it. If it were a rare type it might be worth preserving.

Had there been a significant amount of support (read: money, volunteers) it might have been saved. This bridge doesn't seemed to have earned that support.

I always hate to see an old one get scrapped, but the primary purpose of a bridge has to be getting people connected safely. If they serve well we should try to preserve them.

Old Appleton US 61 Bridge
Posted September 1, 2012, by Ed Hollowell (erhollowell [at] aol [dot] com)

"Height restrictions"?

You have replaced a bridge that was almost infinitely reparable with one of which the design has a history that includes crumbling concrete and rusting re-bar, resulting in heavy repairs (new deck) or replacement in about two decades.

The truth is it's the style of bridge the contractors favor and they make campaign contributions. The contractors have the bridge replacement plans made further into the future and with more certainty than any DOT. They have even decided who will get what contract in advance amongst themselves. A repair of an historic bridge instead of replacement messes up their plans and pisses them off.

It's more profitable for both politicians and contractors to tear down and rebuild than repair and that's the end of that (bridge).

Old Appleton US 61 Bridge
Posted September 1, 2012, by Andy Meyer, PE, NSPE (andrew [dot] meyer [at] modot [dot] mo [dot] gov)

While it's certainly possible that the curve could be a contributing factor in some instances, the width and height restrictions of the old truss bridge and the condition of the bridge, including the roughness and deterioration of the deck structure, were the issues that were addressed through the Safe and Sound bridge improvement program.

The new bridge is not pretty, but it is structurally sound, functional, and economically responsible. I can appreciate that just as much as I can appreciate the asthetic and historical characteristics of the old mill bridge that MoDOT also contributed resources to restore.

Andy Meyer, PE, NSPE

Southeast District Construction and Materials Engineer

Missouri Department of Transportation

Old Appleton US 61 Bridge
Posted August 19, 2011, by Matt Lohry

Gross. Epic failure. The curve causes the problem, the historic bridge gets the blame. A new alignment with a new bridge could have easily made this a side road and allowed the historic bridge to remain standing, thus retaining some aesthetics here.

Old Appleton US 61 Bridge
Posted August 19, 2011, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

It ain't pretty, but in this case the old bridge really did need replaced. Looking at the link below, it sounds like there was a terrible record of accidents here. I am all for preservation, but sometimes HBs and busy highways don't mix.

This is where re-use on a nearby trail, instead of ordering a MOB for the trail becomes a better means of preservation than maintaining the old bridge for traffic.

Old Appleton US 61 Bridge
Posted August 19, 2011, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Now that's UGLY!!!

Old Appleton US 61 Bridge
Posted August 19, 2011, by Ben Tate

Behold your new UCEB:

Old Appleton US 61 Bridge
Posted June 27, 2011, by Lyon Wonder (lyon_wonder [at] yahoo [dot] com)

The Windows ME of bridge spans.

Old Appleton US 61 Bridge
Posted June 24, 2011, by Clark Vance (cvance [at] dogmail [dot] com)

It's pretty rare to see this much negativity about an historic bridge:


No talk about preservation or new alignments in this town.

Old Appleton US 61 Bridge
Posted March 11, 2010, by D. W. Adams (weetbixmarmite [at] yahoo [dot] com)

Is this the same bridge that was struck by 15 tons of bacon in 1962?


Old Appleton US 61 Bridge
Posted December 14, 2005, by Anonymous

This is a great bridge to jump off of during the summer!