Missouri budget plan includes $6 million to rebuild the bridge at Route 66 State Park

Among proposed spending bills being considered by the Missouri Legislature is a $6 million plan to build a pedestrian bridge at an existing historic span at Route 66 State Park near Eureka.

That item was flagged deep in a story by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that focused on the Missouri Department of Transportation headquarters in Jefferson City.

Here’s the relevant excerpt:

Other proposed projects on tap are a $6 million pedestrian bridge over the Meramec River at Route 66 State Park near Eureka.

The 30-foot-wide, 1,008-foot-long bridge was closed to traffic in October 2009, and the driving surface was later removed to take weight off the structure.

MoDOT has owned the bridge since 1997, when it took over ownership from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which claimed title to it after dioxin contamination was discovered in Times Beach in the 1980s.

The Missouri Legislature’s session ends in late May.

Turning the Route 66 bridge into a pedestrian span had been proposed for a while, but lack of funding always was an issue. About 18 months ago, the Great Rivers Greenway announced it was working with the Missouri State Parks Foundation to restore the long-closed Meramec River Bridge.

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 former Steiny’s Inn restaurant on Route 66. The office contains quite a bit of Route 66 memorabilia from that area.

(Image of the Route 66 State Park bridge near Eureka, Missouri, by Haydn Blackey via Flickr)

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