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Old Chain of Rocks Bridge closes parking lot January 30, 2007

Posted by Ron Warnick in Attractions, Bicycling, Highways.

In a column by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Matthew Hathaway, we learn that Trailnet, which runs the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge that connects a pedestrian/biking trail from north St. Louis to Madison, Ill., is closing a parking lot on the Missouri side of the river indefinitely because of vandalism to vehicles there.

In an e-mail to the Post-Dispatch, Trailnet Executive Director Ann Rivers Mack announced Monday that the parking lot on the Missouri side would be closed indefinitely. She wrote that the group had tried to improve security at the lot, with little success. “Vandalism nonetheless continues, and we are working on a long-term plan,” Mack said.

Kathi Weilbacher, a spokeswoman for the group, said that the parking lot closure could be temporary and that the lot on the Illinois side of the bridge would remain open. Pedestrians and cyclists can still enter the 5,353-foot-long bridge from either side.

Hathaway isn’t thrilled with the closing, nor am I. He points out that with the closing of the lot, security on the Missouri side of the bridge probably will get worse because fewer people — and thus, fewer eyes — will be around to spot ne’er-do-wells there.

Trailnet presumably saw the folly in this move, and later told Hathaway that the Missouri parking lot could reopen soon if the group had “long-term partners” and more “regional stakeholder investment,” whatever that means.

Hathaway encourages fans of the bridge and readers to contact Mack at 314-416-9930 or annmack (at) trailnet.org if you think closing the lot is a poor solution.

In the meantime, if you want to visit the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge, park on the Illinois side.  If you’re driving west on Chain of Rocks Road, aka Route 66, in Granite City, you’ll come to the base of the bridge anyway.

If you’re not on Route 66, the easiest way to get to the Illinois side of the bridge is to exit at Illinois Highway 3 off Interstate 270, then turn south toward toward the Chain of Roads Road intersection (map is here). From there, you go west on Chain of Rocks Road, over a bridge that spans a canal, then west to the base of the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge (map is here). There is parking on the side of the road and it’s safer, mostly because it’s more sparsely populated.


1. RoadDog - February 1, 2007

We were at the Missouri side parking lot back in September, and there was an attendant who wanted $2 to park. We told him we just wanted to take a picture and he let us go up to the bridge without paying.

Perhaps a fulltime attendant who gets to pocket the parking fees might be the answer to the problem

It would be too bad to lose such a great opportunity to see the Mississippi and a bit of 66 heritage..

2. JRJ - August 3, 2007

This was really happening every weekend and happened to my friends. – 8 car windows were broke out while they and some other visitors walked onto the bridge back in 2002. Sounded like an inside job almost. Nice, just like every other good thing that used to be in this city and in the country. Instead of fixing the problem and having round the clock security patrol, we just close it down, so no one can access it Nicely done Missouri! And done in typical “Ignore the North County” fashion. Might as well, let the gangbangers, vandals and car thieves take over.

3. kevin nodine - April 13, 2008

i think that they should put in some kind of camera so that the police can see what is going on.and put in the phone like so when someone needs help they can get help like they got at metro link and pay someone to work there who walk around. and checking on things so crap like that will not happen.and they need to put it on both side of the river and on the ill side put in something so you can go to the restroom if you have someone working on both sides then you can go up on the bridge at night.

4. kevin nodine - July 15, 2010

if they would put something there like shops with food gifts that would help

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