1 vote

Chouteau Bridge


Photo taken by Historic American Engineering Record

View photos at Library of Congress

BH Photo #118333


Compiled by James Baughn

Opened to railroad traffic
Converted for automobile use
Acquired by Kansas City
Mar. 2, 2001
Permanently closed to traffic
Dec. 5, 2001
Main span imploded
Dec. 17, 2001
Replacement bridge opened


Lost three-span Whipple truss bridge over the Missouri River in Kansas City
Kansas City, Jackson County, Missouri, and Clay County, Missouri
Replaced by new bridge in 2001
Built 1887; converted into vehicular use in 1951; demolished in 2001
- Charles L. Strobel
- Keystone Bridge Co. of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
- Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific Railroad (MILW)
Whipple through truss
Length of largest span: 403.8 ft.
Total length: 1,358.6 ft.
Deck width: 20.0 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 18.5 ft.
Approximate latitude, longitude
+39.14604, -94.53402   (decimal degrees)
39°08'46" N, 94°32'02" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/367436/4334103 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
North Kansas City
Land survey
T. 50 N., R. 33 W., Sec. 7
Inventory number
BH 21692 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • September 17, 2022: New photo from Luke
  • July 23, 2016: New photos from Kelly McClanahan
  • August 10, 2012: Updated by Clark Vance: Added categories "Railroad", "Rail-to-road"
  • January 6, 2010: New photos from Eric Kinkhorst
  • July 26, 2008: New photos from James Baughn
  • June 8, 2008: Updated by Max Johnson


  • HAER MO-93 - Francois Chouteau Bridge, Spanning Missouri River at Chouteau Traffic Way, Kansas City, Jackson County, MO
  • James Baughn - webmaster [at] bridgehunter [dot] com
  • Eric Kinkhorst - erick [dot] bud [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Wikipedia
  • Kelly McClanahan
  • Luke


Chouteau Bridge
Posted July 23, 2016, by Clark Vance (cvance [at] dogmail [dot] com)

Nice addition, Kelly. I always enjoyed crossing on this bridge. Good to have some more pics.

Chouteau Bridge
Posted July 23, 2016, by Kelly McClanahan

I have been going through some old photos and scanning them. I came across some photos (which I have added) the other day. I had forgotten that I had went out and said, "good-bye" to the old Chouteau Bridge. After I scanned them, I used auto-correct for the coloring, and they where a little off. While it was a shame that the bridge had to go, all things have to die, even bridges at times. It is rare, though that we get to say good-bye to a span, I hope I did it justice in it's final days.

Chouteau Bridge
Posted March 23, 2012, by Ross Brown

As I am a huge fan of visiting bridges, I would've loved to see this bridge while it was still standing. It would have been a great candidate for pedestrian use. You would think that the Chouteau Bridge would be used as a pedestrian bridge, since the Chain of Rocks Bridge in St. Louis became a pedestrian bridge around the same time that this bridge was demolished. About the possibility of leaving it, the Chain of Rocks Bridge stood abandoned for over 30 years.

Chouteau Bridge
Posted October 4, 2009, by David Smothers (davidsmothers [at] msn [dot] com)

But.... as much as I loved it, it was INCREDIBLY narrow, and I had to drive a floral delivery van across it in icy weather once. WHITE KNUCKLE time for sure. And I'm not one who's ever afraid fo bridges normally.

Chouteau Bridge
Posted October 4, 2009, by David Smothers (davidsmothers [at] msn [dot] com)

I thought the Choteau bridge was BEAUTIFUL. There were protests when it was torn down. Many wanted it converted to a pedestrian/bicycle bridge. I suppose they didn't have the money to do it. The thing is, when that happens, they should LEAVE THE BRIDGE standing for a period of time, to allow private groups time to gather funds to convert the bridge. Legislation could prevent lawsuits form stupid people who might get hurt on the closed bridge. And razor wire could keep them off as well.

Chouteau Bridge
Posted October 3, 2009, by Mark Frazier (mfrazier [at] kc [dot] rr [dot] com)

Two photographs of the first pier on the south side of the river. MoDOT retained this feature as part of the National Historic Preservation Act resolution.

Chouteau Bridge
Posted June 21, 2009, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

I had considered this to be one of the finest truss bridges in the entire United States and one of the landmarks of Kansas City.

There was much fear that this bridge was unsafe, and the weight limit had been lowered to three tons. For some residents of the KC area, it was considered "fun" to drive unsuspecting friends and family across this bridge.

Chouteau Bridge
Posted June 20, 2009, by Anthony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

This was an amazing structure! Just looking at pictures makes me wish I had seen the real thing. I have not seen circular, cut stone cassions on any other bridge. You have to wonder just what is wrong with people who would replace a gem like this.