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McKinley Bridge



Photo taken by James Baughn in August 2008


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KETC | Living St. Louis | McKinley Bridge

From KETC, LIVING ST. LOUIS Producer Jim Kirchherr travels across the McKinley Bridge—the third bridge to span the Mississippi River and connect to St. Louis. The bridge opened in 1910, just north of downtown St. Louis for both automobile and train traffic, but was shut down in 2001 due to deterioration. Now the bridge is being restored for bikes and automobiles.

Video posted by KETC

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Written by James Baughn

Nov. 10, 1910
Bridge dedicated
City of Venice purchases bridge from Illinois Terminal Railroad
Railroad service discontinued across bridge
First lawsuit filed against Venice for unpaid St. Louis property taxes on Missouri half of bridge
Railroad tracks finally removed
Oct. 30, 2001
Closed to traffic by the Illinois Department of Transportation
Fall 2003
Radioactive waste under the Missouri approach discovered
Dec. 2003
Missouri half of bridge put on auction block for unpaid taxes; nobody places a bid
Jan. 2004
Hazardous waste cleanup finished
Settlement reached to turn control of the bridge to Illinois, forgive back taxes, and pay off outstanding bond debt
April 4, 2005
Work begins by the Halverson Construction Co. to replace the highway approaches and rehabilitate the main spans
July 2005
Portion of old Missouri approach collapses during demolition
Aug. 2005
Workers demolish wooden trestle on the bridge's former Illinois railroad approach
After several delays, bridge reopened to traffic
June 7, 2008
Bike and pedestrian lane dedicated


Through truss bridge over the Mississippi River at St. Louis
Venice, St. Louis, Missouri, and Madison County, Illinois
Open to traffic
Built 1910, closed to traffic in October 2001, reopened in 2007
- Missouri Valley Bridge & Iron Co. of Leavenworth, Kansas
- Pennsylvania Steel Co. of Steelton, Pennsylvania
- Ralph Modjeski of Bochnia, Poland
- Illinois Terminal Railroad (IT; ITC)
- Illinois Traction System (ITS)
- Interurban
Main spans: Three pin-connected, 18-panel Pennsylvania through trusses
Length of largest span: 517.4 ft.
Total length: 5,733.2 ft. (1.1 mi.)
Deck width: 24.0 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 19.6 ft.
Eligible for the National Register of Historic Places
Approximate latitude, longitude
+38.66509, -90.18270   (decimal degrees)
38°39'54" N, 90°10'58" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/745122/4283379 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Granite City
Average daily traffic (as of 2018)
Inventory numbers
MONBI 32776 (Missouri bridge number on the National Bridge Inventory)
BH 22647 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of September 2017)
Overall condition: Fair
Superstructure condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 43.5 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • February 10, 2022: New photos from Bambi Sharkoman
  • January 8, 2022: New photo from Mike Goff
  • April 12, 2020: Updated by Nick Boppel: Removed category "Toll"
  • May 18, 2019: New photos from Joe Sonderman
  • November 23, 2018: New photo from Melissa Brand-Welch
  • June 28, 2016: New photos from John Marvig
  • December 26, 2013: Updated by Luke Harden: Added category "Rail-and-Road"
  • March 28, 2013: New photos from John Christeson
  • March 7, 2013: New photo from Alexander D. Mitchell IV
  • August 13, 2012: Updated by Daniel Hopkins: Added category "Railroad"
  • September 5, 2011: New photos from Jason Smith
  • August 21, 2011: New photos from Ben Tate
  • January 6, 2011: New photo from John Christeson
  • December 31, 2010: Updated by Kim Harvey: incorporated NBI data merger
  • December 19, 2010: New photo from Mark Frazier
  • May 14, 2010: New Street View added by Nick Brnot
  • May 3, 2010: New video from Kim Harvey
  • April 5, 2010: New Street View added by James Baughn
  • March 14, 2010: Updated by Kim Harvey: imported NBI data
  • November 20, 2008: Updated by Kim Harvey: added category
  • September 14, 2008: New photo from James Baughn
  • August 18, 2008: New photos from James Baughn
  • August 17, 2008: Essay added by James Baughn
  • June 1, 2008: New photos from John Christeson
  • March 31, 2006: Posted photo from Jack Schmidt


  • James Baughn - webmaster [at] bridgehunter [dot] com
  • Kim Harvey
  • Mark Frazier - mfrazier404 [at] gmail [dot] com
  • John Christeson - john_christeson [at] yahoo [dot] com
  • Ben Tate - benji5221 [at] yahoo [dot] com
  • Jason Smith - flensburg [dot] bridgehunter [dot] av [at] googlemail [dot] com
  • Wikipedia
  • Alexander D. Mitchell IV
  • John Marvig - marvigj27 [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Melissa Brand-Welch - melissabrandwelch [at] msn [dot] com
  • Joe Sonderman
  • Mike Goff - michael [dot] goff [at] hotmail [dot] com
  • Jesse Sharkoman Berube - jesseberube5 [at] gmail [dot] com


McKinley Bridge
Posted May 28, 2017, by august vargas (gutoi [at] yahoo [dot] com)

Yes, a very great bridge. Had the pleasure to cross it 4 times in two days with my 2007 Triumph motorcycle w/ my friend Richard, on the way to Chain of Rocks Bridge then to Luna Cafe, (aka Al Capone's bar) for a beer or two, before heading back to the McKinley bridge to joint Pasadena English motorcycles of old ages, club heading to California on Route 66. That was a very wow unique moment for me to be on those two bridges over Mississippi river.

McKinley Bridge
Posted January 30, 2016, by Raymond Meier (rgmeier3 [at] comcast [dot] net)

I have been told that my grandmother dove off the bridge into the river. She was from Venice Ill, It would have been in the very early 30's. I do not know where to look to verify this actually happened.

McKinley Bridge
Posted November 11, 2010, by Spanfan (susorcar [at] yahoo [dot] com)

Happy 100th Birthday to a still great-looking lady!

McKinley Bridge
Posted November 11, 2010, by Steve Suiter (sjsuiter [at] hotmail [dot] com)

I love seeing old bridges restored and saved for future generations. My daughter and I were in St Louis in 2002 so this bridge would have been closed at the time. I would love going back to the city and seeing this beauty in person.

McKinley Bridge
Posted November 10, 2010, by Kevin Wong (R36Redbird [at] yahoo [dot] com)

McKinley Bridge turns 100 today-opened 11/10/1910!

McKinley Bridge
Posted April 24, 2009, by Al Benton (cab3705 [at] sbcglobal [dot] net)

Here's a couple of photos taken by Dave Vance while working on the re-build. The first one shows the bridge, the second is from the structure looking south toward St. Louis downtown.

McKinley Bridge
Posted April 24, 2009, by Al Benton (cab3705 [at] sbcglobal [dot] net)

I have very fond memories of crossing this bridge in my younger days, back in the 50's. It was quite an adventure as I recall, especially when trains were sharring the same space at the same time, what a thrill that was. My Dad would stay in the outer lane mostly but ocassionally would follow the caboos and let us wave to the guys in it.

The outer lanes were cantilevered, as I recall and had steel poles with old telegraph lines. The lanes were narrow and Mom was always a nervous wreck until we were safely on the opposite side.

Later, durring the 60's and 70's, the bridge was my preferred rought to and from north-west St. Louis County from East St. Louis, where we lived. The other bridges were jammed with traffic at rush hour and the McKinley was usually a faster rought.

I admire Wayne McKaskill for his comments regarding the Community of Venice, IL. Very well stated. The photo posted by John brings back those fond memories. Thanks.

McKinley Bridge
Posted February 7, 2009, by Cyndi Henk (mchenk6 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

I have traveled the McKinley Bridge since my birth in 1959. I moved away in the 70's to TX. Any time I came home to visit I drove the long way around just to cross the Ol' McKinley Bridge. (Mom and Dad moved to Naperville.) even though they both are gone now, It brings GREAT JOY to know that I can now come back and cross the Bridge. Dad always drove the out side lane even in the winter although sometimes they did close those lanes because of the weather, I remember being scared and the way Mom would distract us was to see who could spell M-I-S-S-I-S-S-I-P-P-I, The most times before we got to the other side. Out of the 4 of us kids we got to take turns throwing the toll money in the toll basket... Ah the memories... I remeber going to visit in 2004 and the bridge was closed and I was devestated to think that I might never get to take my Grandchildren over the Bridge. My husband (a Texan) who had never seen such a massive structure of a Bridge was so happy to hear that the bridge was fixed and open again, that we are going to take a road trip just to see it. I wish I had pictures of it from the days when there was just post and chain to keep the cars from going off the bridge... how many cars did go off the bridge?

McKinley Bridge
Posted December 1, 2008, by Neal (naskss [at] yahoo [dot] com)

I had the pleasure (?) of seeing the McKinley bridge for the first time in 1999. I come from Pittsburgh PA, the "City of Bridges". Here, we take good care of our main river crossings and have pride in their appearance.

I don't think the word "shocked" can adequately describe my reaction to this bridge. It was the biggest piece of s**t that I have ever seen. It was is horrendous condition, and it was absolutely bizzare how the traffic lanes weaved back and forth across the old railroad tracks. The ca. 1950 toll plaza at the east end looked like something out of the Planet of the Apes. I made the fellow I was with drive over it a few times so I sould savor this truly weird sight.

Looks a million times better after the rehab. Still, it has none of the bizzare character of the orignal bridge.

McKinley Bridge da East Side
Posted November 28, 2008, by Wayne McCaskill (waynemccaskill1962 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

I will be the first to admit that I left the city of Venice because of lack of opportunity in my home town but I will disagree with Mr Jones who posted "there is nothing worth while" on the East Side of this Bridge.

Lee Park is a Unique gathering place in the Metro East and Hoopsters from all over the area come there to test themselves against my Homeboys that are recognized all over the area as some of the best.

But most significantly is that in this area unlike other Urban areas I've lived in The Churches outnumber the Liquor Stores.

The Infulence of Mount Nebo, New Salem, Southern Mission, Friendship, and Bethel AME are the positive infulences on a Black Culture that have kept the Black Neighborhood from deteriorating into a Crack and Crime Dominated society like other black areas in this Country.

More importantly the people of this fine little city have proven over time to be better folk than I even thought of them myself while growing up there.

I have not lived in Venice since 1983 and have not considered moving back. But this is more because of Career persuits and not the town itself.

I love my hometown as well as my family and friends that I visit irregularly and How dare you stranger that knows nothing of this place insult it by saying there is nothing there worth while.

Great successful people all over the Country have roots in the Newport Section and it is not only a place worth while but a city with Incredible people that fought hard for a decent way a life Not to mention School Intergration in the 60's.

So before you rule out my Home town as a place not "Worthwhile" I challenge you to pay a visit to the Mount Nebo Missonary Baptist Church. Tell them Wayne McCaskill sent you and you shall discover the the people of my hometown are more than worthwhile but nothing short of the finest people on the face of Gods Great Earth

McKinley Bridge
Posted February 23, 2008, by John (johnsjunk [at] insightbb [dot] com)
McKinley Bridge
Posted December 23, 2007, by Kevin Wong (R36Redbird [at] yahoo [dot] com)

I remember seeing photos of the McKinley Bridge during its last days of rail service-in the late 70s showing a single track and a shared lane with cars and trains. Lost the site, anyone have more photos or info?

McKinley Bridge
Posted December 19, 2007, by Dave (davediederich [at] netscape [dot] net)

Yes,taking the eastbound Salisbury exit will put you on the bridge to Illinois.

McKinley Bridge
Posted December 17, 2007, by Josh (josh [at] aol [dot] com)

Will taking Salisbury eastbound get me on the bridge (from Mo)? All the current mapping sites still have it closed and I can't tell which road you take to get on the bridge.

McKinley Bridge
Posted December 16, 2007, by Kevin Wong (R36Redbird [at] yahoo [dot] com)

McKinley Bridge fully reopens, today, December 17 to all vehicles at 3 PM.

McKinley Bridge
Posted November 29, 2007, by Burt Abraham (Burtabraham [at] hotmail [dot] com)

I plan on using the bike lane and so do the thousands of others who are riding on the trails around the area.

McKinley Bridge
Posted November 29, 2007, by why? (creinhardt [at] thompsoncoburn [dot] com)

Why do they feel the need for a pedestrian/bicycle lane? I really doubt that many people cross that bridge without a car. I crossed McKinley Bridge daily until it closed in Oct. 2001. It was a four-lane bridge and was HEAVILY traveled. Now that it is only a 2-lane bridge, will it be sufficient for rush-hour traffic?

McKinley Bridge
Posted November 15, 2007, by Robert Jones (robjones [at] htc [dot] net)

It's great that the bridge is being rebuilt, especially in the light of the projected -up -to one Billion dollar price tag of a new bridge.

It's just too bad that the McKinley doesn't go anywhere worthwhile, especially heading East.

McKinley Bridge
Posted September 17, 2007, by UrbanReviewSTL (steve [at] urbanreviewstl [dot] com)




As politicians continue to debate the need for a new bridge across the Mississippi River -- and how to pay for it -- a new-old bridge is quietly set to reopen.

The McKinley Bridge, which links North St. Louis to Venice, has been undergoing a $46 million restructuring project and is scheduled to open again Nov. 10.

Full story: http://www.bnd.com/news/local/story/129568.html

McKinley Bridge
Posted May 15, 2007, by Susan (freecell3 [at] sbcglobal [dot] net)

McKinley Bridge Structure Reconstruction Project

The project is 72% complete and the estimated completion date is Fall 2007.

McKinley Bridge
Posted November 15, 2006, by Daniel (danfrommetro [at] yahoo [dot] com)

I don't have much to say about the bridge, but you have to think this bridge has beed through alot and has seen may years of use and disrepair,and I think this bridge is so cool, because it was a railroad and converted too car bridge, I think it would be cool to have this bridge opened again, even though they are talking about building a brand new span over the mississippi, and they need to save the McKinley Bridge.

McKinley Bridge
Posted May 7, 2006, by Al Bertram (bertrama [at] sbcglobal [dot] net)

I also remember ocasionally crossing over the bridge in the mid and late 90's when I had to go from Alton to the Missouri-Illinois Blood Region building at 4050 Lindell and wanted a "short-cut." A couple of times, the automatic coin collectors were jammed and the hoppers were overflowing with change. Then, you would go up on the bridge itself, encountering many of the conditions the previous person commenting has described. Once you got up on the main spans, it wasn't so bad. However, the approaches on the Missouri side were the worst. Apparently the foundations had settled, and the joints (which were like serrated knife blades) were pointed up at a 45 degree angle in some spots. They acted like those like those barriers that they have on parking lots to keep people from leaving without paying. I remember coming to almost a complete stop to avoid damaging my tires while at the same time looking in my rearview mirror to see someone coming at me from the rear at a high rate of speed. Glad to see that the bridge is going to be put back into commission as I believe it is really going to be needed since we don't when (or if) the new interstate bridge is going to be built.

McKinley Bridge
Posted December 13, 2005, by Dann Gravett (Tipledan [at] aol [dot] com)

The old McK...was always troubled by the poor motoring access. Many days cars actually drove right off this bridge, failing to make the eastern turn and going off the RR tracks to a 100' fall. On the western side, the bedway narrowed such that, at best, it was merely 1.5 car path later in the 60s to be revised to almost a serious 2 car route. Many accidents due to those two problems. The failure of the State of Illinois to actually complete the Il Rt 3 access onto the brige (not done to this day) eventually killed the old bridge off. However, it was a thrill to ride it, watch through the holes in the concrete to the river below and wonder about making it all the way to the other side! If you went down the more secure middle, you might actually run into a train coming the other way and as a consequence, people learned that if you went down the middle, following the RR tracks, you floored the gas peddle. Until the mid-60s, you could ride the streetcars over the bridge as any kid did back then. The motormen would also floor the streetcars around the tracks and sort of squeal the rails to the point you also wondered if the streetcars were going to stay on the bridge! Lastly, the McK was the last sighting of the Little Green Man, a ghoslty figure said to fly off the bridge into the night during the '50s and '60s when cars or RR personnel approached. Lovers would park in their cars beneath the old bridge on the Venice side for decades.