The endangered Meramec River Bridge at Route 66 State Park near Eureka, Missouri, appears to have earned a reprieve from the wrecking ball.
The Route 66 bridge that spanned the Meramec River at the now-ghost town of Times Beach was slated to be demolished by the Missouri Department of Transportation sometime in 2017 unless an entity raised money or took over ownership. A GoFundMe page launched, but it produced less than $10,000 of its $575,000 goal.
Joe Sonderman of MoDOT, who also is editor of the Route 66 Association of Missouri‘s quarterly magazine and a Route 66 author, delivered the news in a Facebook post Monday night via a message from Ruth Keenoy of the Landmarks Association of St. Louis:
“Thanks to Philip and Judith Stupp, Missouri State Parks Foundation was able to work out an agreement that will deter demolition in 2017 and provide a path forward to rehabilitate the historic bridge as a bike/pedestrian crossing. Bear in mind that we still have a long and laborious road ahead and the steering committee for the new bridge campaign will need a lot of financial support. The battle has not been won entirely but certainly the dire situation we faced last year at this time was diverted and we have great hope that the bridge will be around for many, many generations to enjoy.
So everyone, please reach out to the Stupps to thank them for stepping up to take on what we could never have dreamed of accomplishing without their assistance.
I thank ALL OF YOU – so much – for joining the cause we had in 2016 to save the bridge. We will be making a public statement soon about the bridge – on facebook and on the GoFundMe page – as soon as we receive the green light from Missouri State Parks.
As I write this, State Parks and MoDOT are working on transferring the bridge’s ownership from MoDOT to Missouri State Parks – so let’s also thank our State Parks – especially those working at the Route 66 State Park – for working all these years to make this a reality.”
More details have yet to emerge, but this appears to be very good news indeed.
The Meramec River Bridge was built at Times Beach, Missouri, in 1932. Officials evacuated Times Beach in the 1980s because of dioxin contamination. After incinerating the contaminated soil, Route 66 State Park then was founded at the site, with the main office at the old Steiny’s Inn restaurant on Route 66.
MoDOT closed the bridge in 2009 after an annual inspection showed it could no longer support traffic. Shortly after that, the agency removed the deck to keep bridge’s main structure from collapsing.
(Image of Meramec River Bridge courtesy of Missouri Alliance for Historic Preservation)