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Liberty Bridge



Photo taken by James Baughn

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BH Photo #105608

Street Views 


Pair of through truss bridges over Missouri River on MO 291 south of Liberty
Jackson County, Missouri
Northbound bridge re-opened to traffic July 30, 2015
Northbound bridge built 1949 and rehabilitated 1986; southbound bridge built 1996
- Mt. Vernon Bridge Co. of Mt. Vernon, Ohio (Fabrication, 1949 NB Bridge)
- Sverdrup & Parcel of St. Louis, Missouri (Design, 1949 NB Bridge)
Continuous Warren through truss
Length of largest span: 460.1 ft.
Total length: 1,883.3 ft.
Deck width: 23.9 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 16.5 ft.
Also called
Courtney Bend Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+39.16785, -94.39520   (decimal degrees)
39°10'04" N, 94°23'43" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/379471/4336330 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Land survey
T. 50 N., R. 32 W., Sec. 12
Average daily traffic (as of 2017)
Inventory numbers
MoDOT L-568R1 (Missouri Dept. of Transportation bridge number)
MONBI 6353 (Missouri bridge number on the National Bridge Inventory)
BH 21701 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of May 2017)
Overall condition: Fair
Superstructure condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Good (7 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 55.3 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • June 20, 2019: New photo from Joe Sonderman
  • July 21, 2018: New photo from Neil Krout
  • July 11, 2016: Updated by Nathan Holth: Added engineer/fabricator per drawings.
  • September 6, 2015: Updated by Kelly McClanahan: Updated status.
  • May 6, 2015: Updated by James Baughn: Northbound bridge closed to traffic
  • July 22, 2014: New Street View added by Ralph Demars
  • September 3, 2013: New Street View added by Kelly McClanahan
  • February 16, 2012: New photo from Mark Frazier
  • July 3, 2006: Posted new photos

Related Bridges 


  • Mark Frazier - mfrazier404 [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Kelly McClanahan
  • James Baughn - webmaster [at] bridgehunter [dot] com
  • Nathan Holth
  • Neil Krout - kickinpony [dot] 66 [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Joe Sonderman


Liberty Bridge
Posted September 13, 2019, by Clark Vance (cvance [at] dogmail [dot] com)

Looks like the 1949 (original, now northbound) span is in trouble.


Liberty Bridge
Posted September 6, 2015, by Kelly McClanahan

Was looking at the MoDot website, and found out the bridge was now open.

Liberty Bridge
Posted July 21, 2014, by Danny Parker (barnamus1966 [at] aol [dot] com)

I recently found this picture of when they blasted the new channel open completing the Liberty Bend cutoff.

Liberty Bridge
Posted September 3, 2013, by Kelly McClanahan

Perhaps a nit pick here, but the Liberty Bend Bridge(s) do not cross the county line here. This portion of the Missouri River, is entirely in Jackson County. The county line, is about a mile or so to the north, over the old river channel. Should it be left as it is, or corrected, since the bridge does not cross into Clay County.

Who built the Liberty Bend Bridge?
Posted November 21, 2011, by Will (wpw07550 [at] ucmo [dot] edu)

I know the bridge was tore down and rebuilt, does anyone know the company that built the reconstructed bridge in 1949? Or the company that built the original 2 miles north? Also, what company built the newer south bound bridge?

I have been searching and can not find any information on who built any of it.

Liberty Bridge
Posted December 19, 2010, by Scott Lowe (dayoffguy [at] aol [dot] com)

Lived in Indep till 1970 on Kiger road.

My mom & dad are from Macon Missouri. We used to travel to Macon on 291 to Cameron, then east on 36 hwy.

Rem the Big long hill to the south of Liberty Bend bridge? My father worked at Desert Gold ag mill just north of Liberty Bend bridge when i was a child.

Old 291 hwy still exists next to New 291 north. The old hwy now belongs to a private company. I have walked the old road. The view at the top of old 291 is great.

Liberty Bridge - 1949 Film of the River Chute Opening under Bridge
Posted October 2, 2010, by Mark Frazier (mfrazier [at] kc [dot] rr [dot] com)

I came by an old home movie of the blasting of the plug in the cutoff River chute under this bridge. It is uploaded to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uug4ae6TJV4

Liberty Bridge
Posted October 31, 2009, by Kent (kentlee [at] comcast [dot] net)

On the 1949 Bridge there used to be some crossbeams, if thats what you call them, at the very top of the bridge, but were torn down. The 1927 bridge looks like it had two of these as well, but the new 1996 southbound bridge does not have these 'crossbeams'. I wonder if they were used to carry power lines. There used to be transmission lines attached to the 1949 bridge, but have been rerouted to the west. Only the distribution lines remain on the bridge.

Liberty Bridge
Posted October 31, 2009, by Kent (kentlee [at] comcast [dot] net)

The Old 291 north of the former river channel still exists today as Southview Drive, I believe. It's too bad the old 1927 bridge was torn down. It could've still been used today to carry at least southbound traffic across the railroad and junkyard, as 291 is now four lanes. Instead of building two bridges east of it, all that would've been needed was one. Also, what about Old 210 Highway. The picture shows it ending at 291 north of the old bridge. Did 210 not run all the way to North Kansas City like it does now?

Liberty Bridge - Additional photo of lost bridge before cutoff
Posted October 3, 2009, by Mark Frazier (mfrazier [at] kc [dot] rr [dot] com)

Here is an additional photo of the approach to the "lost" bridge.

Liberty Bridge
Posted July 9, 2009, by Brittany

Yes, it did just sit there for a few years. I remember it very clearly.

Liberty Bridge
Posted July 7, 2009, by David Backlin (us71 [at] cox [dot] net)

The northbound bridge has been closed until further notice due to rust damage


Liberty Bridge
Posted February 22, 2009, by john4kc (john4kc [at] hotmail [dot] com)

I have created a Google map using information found on this website's info page for the Liberty Bridge. Included are the river's historic path, old 291 alignment and placement of the lost 1927-1973 Liberty Bridge. Seeing it all together in one view really answers a lot of questions for me about the odd pieces of highway in the area. Enjoy!

Old Bridge seen here looking south as posted by Mark Frazier...


Live interactive Google map with info seen here...


old Liberty Bend Bridge
Posted February 16, 2009, by camille fife (wgimadison [at] aol [dot] com)

I am interested in this bridge, built c. 1927 because it may be one of three built during the period prior to the Depression in the midwest by the J. G White engineering company of New York City. The Hermann Bridge was one of the three, built by the National Toll Bridge Company, a subsidiary of the J. G. White company. It has been demolished. Does anyone know if the Liberty Bend Bridge still exists and if it was designed and built by this firm. Or if there is any information of other toll bridges built privately by the same firm.

the third would be the bridge in our area, the Madison-Milton Bridge in Kentucky. Thank you.

Liberty Bend Bridge
Posted May 29, 2008, by Mike Gillespie (TheRiverWriter [at] aol [dot] com)

The old Liberty Bend Bridge was built circa 1927 and was dismantled in 1973. The road over that bridge was called U.S. 71 Bypass until sometime in the 1960s when it was redisignated as state highway M-291.

Liberty Bend Cutoff, on the Missouri River, was completed in 1949. The cutoff necessitated a new bridge, which was about two miles south of the older bridge. Since it was easier and cheaper to build the new bridge before the cutoff was made, the new bridge was built over dry land. The river channel was cut through underneath it.

The old, original Liberty Bend Bridge continued to carry highway traffic from the bottoms up to the bluff called Arsenal Hill, which is about five miles south of Liberty. It was a narrow bridge by later standards, and I vividly recall the dread I felt as a new driver whenever a truck came from the other direction.

With the river channel now flowing under the new bridge, the old bridge spanned the abandoned channel, which was reduced to a muddy slough. The old bridge also crossed the Wabash Railroad tracks (later Norfolk and Western), and a large auto scrap yard.

Highway M-291 was enlarged to four lanes south of Liberty in the early seventies and a new four viaduct was built alongside the old bridge. It was then that the old bridge was torn down.

M-291 was reduced to two lanes as it approached the new bridge from the north. It wasn't until the 1990s that a second new bridge was built alongside the first new bridge--both structures running side by side over the 1949 river cutoff. When the second new bridge was completed, the first new bridge was completely rehabed. It finally reopened to northbound traffic in 2004, with southbound traffic routed onto the newer span.

Liberty Bridge
Posted November 28, 2007, by Dylan (dylanlagermurray [at] yahoo [dot] com)

Kudos to Mark Frazier for finding and posting a picture of the original Liberty Bridge over the Missouri River prior to the creation of the current Missouri River channel in that area. I had been able to find scant reference to that old bridge on the Internet previously, let alone a picture. It is truly one of the more (if not most) forgotten Missouri River bridges that once existed (due in large part to the fact that the channel was changed such that the location of this old bridge doesn't cross the current river).

Liberty Bridge at Liberty Bend
Posted November 24, 2007, by Mark Frazier (mfrazier [at] kc [dot] rr [dot] com)

From the Corps of Engineers Kansas City District History of the Missouri River Navigation Project "Soundings" published in 1986 -- The cutoff began in 1947. A 10 feet wide by 15 feet channel was cut, with the river expected to erode it to 1,000 feet wide. When completed in 1949, it cutoff 4.7 miles of river channel. The bridge was built before the cuttof began.

I have attached a scan of a postcard I believe is the original bridge to Liberty before the cutoff.

Webmaster's note: The photo that was here has been incorporated into the main site.

Liberty Bridge
Posted September 12, 2007, by Dylan (dylanlagermurray [at] yahoo [dot] com)

Randy -- I would bet the bridge over nothing, as you described it (sounds like you are describing a mid-to-late-1960's time frame) was the old Missouri River bridge, which by then only crossed the old (likely mostly dried up) river channel. I'd love to see a picture of that old bridge and/or get information on when it was built/torn down. From the location and direction of Old 291 (still around today) to the north of the old channel, it's clear that the old bridge was located immediately to the west of the current 291 twin bridges over the old channel.

Liberty Bridge
Posted September 10, 2007, by Randy Noble (runabout58 [at] hotmail [dot] com)

I remember as a kid going to my uncles house in Independance crossing the first bridge over nothing and then the one over the Missouri River...I think Im right,I was just a kid then and Im 50 now, but the one was took out sometime ago before the wider twin was built.

Liberty Bridge
Posted August 3, 2007, by Dylan

From old maps, it looks like the older of these two bridges was built at the time that the "Liberty Bend cutoff" was created (circa 1949). Prior to that time, the Missouri River made a horseshoe bend to the north of these bridges. It also appears that in the 1930's and 1940's there was a bridge that crossed that old "Liberty Bend" channel of the Missouri river (north of the location of the current bridges). Is anything known about that old bridge over the old "Liberty Bend" channel of the Missouri River? I haven't been able to find any information about it except to see it on 1932, 1933, 1934 and 1941 Jackson County maps. It's clearly not around today, as the Highway 291 bridges at that location (i.e. the location of the old channel) are modern-style bridges, probably built no earlier than the 1970's or 1980's.

Liberty Bridge
Posted April 1, 2007, by John Hiatt (john4kc [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Hello, If my memory serves me right, the wider and newer Southbound bridge was built and sat for several or many years before being opened to traffic. Are there any facts or information about that? Thanks. John.