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BNSF - Bellefontaine Bridge



Photo taken by James Baughn


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BH Photo #114780

Street View 


Baltimore through truss bridge over the Missouri River on the BNSF Railway
St. Louis County, Missouri, and St. Charles County, Missouri
Open to one track of railroad traffic
Opened December 1893, Approaches Rebuilt 2013
- Benjamin L. Crosby of St. Louis, Missouri (Resident engineer)
- George S. Morison of New Bedford, Massachusetts (Consulting engineer)
- New Jersey Steel & Iron Co. of Trenton, New Jersey (Fabrication)
- BNSF Railway (BNSF)
- Burlington Northern Railroad (BN)
- Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad (CBQ)
Four 16-panel Baltimore through trusses with a deck supporting two railroad tracks
Length of largest span: 440.0 ft.
Total length: 2,660.0 ft. (0.5 mi.)
Approximate latitude, longitude
+38.84357, -90.23616   (decimal degrees)
38°50'37" N, 90°14'10" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/739872/4303048 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Columbia Bottom
Land survey
T. 47 N., R. 7 E., Sec. 9
Inventory number
BH 22615 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • June 28, 2016: New photos from John Marvig
  • June 22, 2016: Updated by John Marvig: Added information
  • October 12, 2013: New photo from Joe Leets
  • September 14, 2008: New photos from James Baughn
  • June 4, 2008: New photos from James Baughn



Bellefontaine Bridge
Posted October 1, 2019, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

Newly digitized bridge historical bridge report containing numerous original drawings of this bridge: https://archive.org/details/gri_33125016395747/page/n6

BNSF - Bellefontaine Bridge
Posted September 28, 2014, by Al Bertram (albert [dot] bertram [at] redcross [dot] org)

Over the past the year, the BNSF railroad appears to have spent a considerable amount of money upgrading the bridge for rail traffic. They replaced the approaches on the St. Charles County side with single-track box girder trusses and may have installed larger horizontal reinforcement beams on the main trusses, although that may have been the original beams. I'm not sure if they just repainted them, as they appear to be newer and stick out from the rest of the truss structure. They also constructed reinforced concrete pedestals on two of the three piers. The track to the bridge is also being extensively renovated so it appears that the BNSF plans on keeping it in service for a while. There is still construction equipment in place around the bridge, so perhaps more work will be done. It would be nice if they would paint the bridge as well, as it has needed it for a long time!

Bellefontaine Bridge
Posted September 24, 2010, by Albert E. Bertram (abertram8297 [at] charter [dot] net)

Although I don't watch it on a daily basis, I believe the rail traffic on the bridge is relatively light, especially since the MKT railroad was abandoned back in 1985. It mostly is used for unit coal trains for the Portage Des Sioux power plant on the Mississippi River. I suspect that if that ever stopped, the BNSF might build a connection south along Missouri 79 to the Norfolk & Southern line that goes through St. Charles and abandon the "dog leg" it has to make to service the Portage Des Sioux power plant. But, that doesn't seem likely to happen.

Bellefontaine Bridge
Posted March 27, 2010, by James Baughn (webmaster [at] bridgehunter [dot] com)

Scott: The best option is to park near the end of the offramp on the south end of the highway bridge. In summer, there are some trees in the way, but it's still a pretty good view and doesn't require trespassing.

I haven't explored the north end, but it might be possible to drive or hike along the levee to reach the bridge. I don't know if the levee road is gated or not.

Bellefontaine Bridge
Posted March 27, 2010, by Scott (stiek [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Does anyone know how much rail traffic this bridge gets? And are there any good spots (easy to get to and not private property) to take photos of the trains on the bridge? Thanks!

Bellefontaine Bridge
Posted March 22, 2010, by Mark Dellbringge (markdellbringge [at] netzero [dot] net)

This bridge carries the BNSF Railroad over the Missouri River.

Bellefontaine Bridge
Posted February 22, 2010, by Scott (stiek [at] Hotmail [dot] com)

I don't get out there often but the only thing I can recall seeing is BNSF units.

Bellefontaine Bridge
Posted January 3, 2010, by Ralph Grant (ralph [at] thegrantz [dot] com)

You can see additional pictures of this bridge here:



Bellefontaine Bridge
Posted July 14, 2009, by jack (jackkav [at] sbcglobal [dot] net)