US67 St. Francis River Bridge
US Route 67 Bridge J21 St Francis River Greenville Missouri
This 180' pin connected 7 panel Pratt through truss was acquired by the Williamsville Greenville & St Louis Railroad from the MoPac and was moved and erected here in 1908-09 by the Crebo Construction Co of Kansas City at a cost of $12,000. After the W G & ST L and its successor the Ozark Valley Railway went bankrupt the bridge was abandoned. It was later acquired by the Missouri Highway Department and modified for use in place by US Route 67. In 1930 new concrete approaches were built and the south pier was reinforced by the S J Cohen Construction Co of Blytheville Arkansas and in November 1930 the truss was widened 6' by the St Louis Structural Steel Co. Bridge J21 remained in use on Route 67 until the Wappapello Dam was built and a new bridge was then necessary at a higher elevation. It was replace by Bridge J21R, which was built on an upstream alignment by George W Condon Co. 1940-41. The Pratt truss was dismantled match marked and set aside by the Corps of Engineers who then moved it to Cross County Arkansas where it was re-erected in 1944-45 on State Route 42 over the St Francis Bay Ditch. The Arkansas Highway Department Bridge No. for that span was No. 2011.
Photo on file with the USACE Wappapello Lake, provided by Rusty Weisman
BH Photo #247837
The first railway bridge at this location was a wooden structure built in 1892. That bridge collaped under a loaded log train in 1899.
A 100' timber Howe truss was then built to replace it c. 1899-1900.
Wayne County contributed $750 towards the replacement of the collapsed bridge which then allowed both wagon and rail traffic across its deck. After a damaging flood in 1907 citizens complained to the Missouri Railroad and Warehouse Commission that the bridge had become unsafe. The Commission ordered an inspection by structural engineer William L Mathews, whose December 15 1907 report recommended replacement of the timber Howe truss bridge. The Commission then ordered the railway to replace the bridge. The Greenville Sun newspaper reported on January 21 1908 that the W G & St L Railway was negotiating with the Missouri Pacific Railroad to acquire a 'second hand' steel bridge from them. The bridge apparently came from a location where the MoPac was replacing a single track bridge with a double track structure. The W G & St L. railroad approached Judge Johnson and the Wayne County Court to see if the county would share the expense of the replacement bridge. Citing a lack of funds, the County declined to join in the bridge replacement project and the railroad proceeded to acquire and build a railroad only bridge. In October 1908 the W G & St L reported to the Railroad and Warehouse Commission that construction was underway on new concrete piers and that they expected the replacement bridge to be open to rail traffic in February 1909. A photograph of the newly re-erected Pratt truss appeared on the front page of the Wayne County Journal Banner newspaper February 19, 1909. In 1913 the W G & St L went bankrupt. It was sold and reorganized returning to operation in January 1915 as the Ozark Valley Railway. The OVR was unable to operate profitably and after three years it went bankrupt in 1918. The line was then sold at auction to the Bender Iron and Supply Co. for scrap. While the rails and ties were removed, the bridge over the St Francis River was abandoned. In 1927 the Missouri Highway Department began planning for improvements to newly designated US Route 67 (renammed State Route 23). An inspection of the railroad bridge on May 10, 1928 determined that it was sound and District 10 Engineer Fred Harris determined that it could be aquired and modifed for highway use more economically than building a new bridge. Harris submitted a preliminary design incorporating the old railway bridge in 1928 which envisioned an 1160' structure with 17 I-beam approach spans on the north side of the river and 7 I-beam approach spans south of the river. A revised preliminary design and layout for bridge J21 was made by A. L. Googins and L. R. Burns in March 1929 - shortening the structure to 870' with 9 deck-girder approach spans on the north side and 6 deck-girder spans on the south side of the river. When the final design was completed in November 1929, the bridge was 1103' 1" and consisted of 13 concrete girder approach spans on the north side (11-45' spans and 2-50' spans) and 7 concrete girder spans on the south side (3-35' spans, 2-40' spans and 1-45' span). The substructure consisted of reinforced concrete column bents partly on bedrock and partly on timber piling foundations. In April 1930 S J Cohen Construction Co of Blythville Arkansas was awared the contract to modify the bridge. Beginning in June 1930 new concrete approach spans were built by S J. Cohen and in November 1930 their sub-contractor the St Louis Structural Steel Co., widened the truss 6' to provide a 20' wide roadway. In December 1930 the 1103 1/3" bridge with its widened 180' 3" Pratt truss main span opened on US Route 67, replacing a 510'long 16' wide bridge built by the Stupp Brothers Bridge and Iron Co for the County in 1911. Bride J21 remained in survice on US Route 67 until it was replaced in December 1941 by bridge J21R - which was made necessary by the US Army Corps of Engineers Wappapello Dam. Bridge J21R was built just upstream at a higher elevation of 395'. The USACE paid for the new highway 67 bridge built in 1941 and also retained ownership of the old modified Pratt truss, which they had dismantled and match marked and stored for planned reuse in Cross County Arkansas. In 1944 the truss was moved to Cross County were it was erected over the USACE's St Francis Bay Ditch on Arkansas Route 42 by J. P. McNulty of Pine Bluff.
- November 30, 2016: New photo from Rusty Weisman
- June 18, 2015: New photo from Rusty Weisman
- June 17, 2015: New photo from Rusty Weisman
- January 30, 2013: Updated by Luke Harden: Added categories
- January 30, 2013: New photo from Rusty Weisman