As we neared St. Louis, we turned west on I-270 to bypass St. Louis to the north. (St. Louis will be a trip in the future for us.) It was time to cross the mighty Mississippi. First, though, we came to the Chain of Rocks Canal and the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge. History is quite fascinating in this area.
The old Chain of Rocks Bridge (green in the photo below) was privately built in 1929 as a toll bridge at a cost of $3 million. Bypass US Route 66 was designated over this bridge to the north of St. Louis so travelers could avoid downtown traffic. (City U.S. 66 continued to cross the Mississippi River over the MacArthur Bridge.)
Unique to the old bridge was a 22-degree bend occurring at the middle of the crossing. The bridge's name comes from a large shoal or rocky rapids, called the Chain of Rocks which made that stretch of the Mississippi dangerous to navigate. After 1940, only a single impediment prevented the safe and reliable 9-foot navigation channel on the Mississippi River from St. Paul, Minnesota to New Orleans, Louisiana - the Chain of Rocks Reach.
The Reach was a 17-mile series of rock ledges that began just north of St. Louis and was extremely treacherous to navigate. From the late 1940s through early 1950s, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built an 8.4-mile-long bypass canal. To ensure adequate depths in the new canal, a non-movable, low-water dam was constructed just below the north end of the canal and a lock was constructed at the south end of the canal.
|Old Chain of Rocks Bridge - now a ped/bike bridge (left);|
new I-270 bridge (right)
|Barge safely navigating the Chain of Rocks Canal|
It wasn't until 1998 that the bridge was leased to Trailnet, a local trails group, to operate. The price to renovate the bridge for pedestrian and cycling use was $4.5 million. The old bridge can be accessed from either the Illinois or Missouri side of the bridge.
After we crossed the Chain of Rocks Canal, our next crossing was the Mississippi River. I was driving, so Bob took the river photos on this part of our trip.
|Crossing the Mississippi River|
At the Welcome Center, Bob took over driving the rest of the way to Jefferson City, Missouri. We followed David's advice and took Hwy. 370 around to the north. Hwy. 370 was definitely well traveled. I'm wondering how crowded I-270 must be, since this route had as many travelers as it did. While on State Route 370, we crossed the Missouri River. (My turn to take photos.)
|Missouri River, looking north|
|Missouri River Bridge|
Our impression of Mari-Osa Delta Campground wasn't the best. The campsites are disorganized and have no numbers. The manager came out and showed us where to park by walking in front of our truck. He didn't walk very fast. The campground office/store was well stocked with fishing supplies, i.e., lures, bait, line, sinkers, bobbers. The park is at the confluence of the Osage and Maries Rivers and obviously the park caters to fishermen. It was an odd campground, but we only had one night there.
Tomorrow, Jefferson City Volksmarch and the state Capitol.
Travel Bug out.