Champ Clark Bridge

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Champ Clark Bridge
Champ Clark Bridge 1.jpg
The Champ Clark Bridge looking east
Coordinates39°27′24″N 91°02′52″W / 39.45667°N 91.04778°W / 39.45667; -91.04778
Carries2 lanes of US 54
CrossesMississippi River
LocaleLouisiana, Missouri / Atlas Township, Pike County, Illinois
Maintained byMissouri Department of Transportation
DesignTruss bridge
Total length2,286 feet (697 m)
Width20 feet (6 m)
Longest span418 feet (127 m)
OpenedJune 9, 1928[1]
Daily traffic3,900

The Champ Clark Bridge is a five-span truss bridge over the Mississippi River connecting Louisiana, Missouri with the state of Illinois. It carries U.S. Route 54 northeast to Pittsfield, Illinois, where U.S. 54 terminates. It was formerly a toll bridge.[2]

The bridge is named after James Beauchamp Clark, a former Speaker of the House from Bowling Green, Missouri. Clark served as Speaker from 1911 to 1919.

During construction, a span of the bridge collapsed on September 6, 1927 due to faulty false work. The second span from the Missouri shore collapsed without warning just after quitting time. Two workmen were on still the span resulting in one fatality and one serious injury. This span collapse caused the failure of the first company formed to finance construction of the bridge, delaying completion for at least one year.

The bridge is narrow, allowing for two lanes of traffic on a 20 feet (6 m) deck. The bridge, originally painted silver, was repainted deep green in 1983, and repaired in 1999. In 2005, the Missouri Department of Transportation again rehabbed and repainted the bridge, replacing the green color of the bridge with gray. The bridge is 2,286.4 feet (697 m) in length. The span over the main channel of the Mississippi River is 418.5 feet (128 m) in length.

The Missouri Department of Transportation announced a tentative closing schedule for repairs to the Champ Clark Bridge in 2012. The repairs were deemed necessary to permanently fix damage inflicted on the structure in December 2011 where a vehicle struck the through-truss section of the bridge. Repairs included removal and replacement of rivets, installation of supports & new steel. The bridge was to be closed for approximately a week.

In 2013, MoDOT and IDOT heightened its restrictions on oversized loads on the bridge, citing its age and width. Pull-off areas were constructed, and all wide/oversized loads must pull over and call the Louisiana, MO police department for an escort. The Speed Limit was also reduced to 30 mph. In 2014, a legal weight limit of 40 tons being put into place, due to accelerated deterioration. MoDOT affirms that the bridge is safe to travel so long as motorists comply with the weight and speed limits.

Plans are in place to replace the bridge. In 2015, MoDOT and IDOT were jointly awarded a federal TIGER grant to reduce the cost to each state and Illinois committed its share. In 2016, MoDOT announced inclusion of funding for its portion of the bridge replacement cost in its draft five-year plan, subject to a final vote in July. The new bridge is expected to retain the name of the current span.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Attend the Grand Opening of the Champ Clark Bridge and the Big Celebration". The Pantagraph. Bloomington, Illinois. May 27, 1928. p. 22. Retrieved May 6, 2019 – via open access
  2. ^ Map of Missouri Showing State Road System, January 1, 1930
  3. ^