Missouri River Bridge

Lexington, Missouri

Bridge over Missouri River at Lexington, Mo.

The Missouri River bridge at Lexington was one of four bridges built during the 1920s as part of the rapid expansion of Missouri's highway network. A 1924 Kansas City newspaper article indicated that this bridge was still under construction that year. A fact sheet from the Missouri Department of Transportation gives the bridge's opening date as October 31, 1925.

This bridge was replaced by a new bridge east of Lexington. The new bridge was dedicated in a ceremony on May 14, 2005. It actually opened for traffic on June 25, at which time the 1925 bridge was closed.

The new bridge is named for longtime area congressman Ike Skelton. It is most notable for its use of the tallest steel beams used in bridge construction in the United States. Those beams are more than 28 feet tall at the center of the bridge. The deck of the new bridge is 78 feet wide, compared to 22 feet for the 1925 bridge.

The new bridge will be the centerpiece of a project to build a bypass for Missouri 13 around Lexington, but judging from a site visit to the area in September 2005, it will be years before the full bypass is built.

All that said, the new bridge isn't overlooked by a steep river bluff, which provided excellent views of the old bridge when I visited and took photographs on October 15, 2003. I was also able to take photos of early stages of the bridge's demolition on September 8, 2005 from the south end of the bridge.

2003 photos of the old Lexington Bridge and vicinity

A view from the north end of the bridge, showing how the deck rises to a high point in the middle of the span.
This view is from Missouri 13, going southbound on the bridge.
Another view of the bridge at its north end, showing more of the structure.
Another view of the bridge from the Lexington side of the river, taken at the intersection of Missouri 13 and 224. Also note the informational signs at the very entrance of the approach to the bridge.
Driving up Highland Avenue in Lexington, on top of the bluff overlooking the south bank of the river, you could stop at the Lafayette County War Memorial and get a panoramic view of the bridge.
On the bluff overlooking the river, there is a memorial to all county war veterans. The memorial is essentially a white stone stair going down the bluff. The sign describing the war memorial indicates that the memorial was built about the same time as the bridge.

2005 photos of the old Lexington Bridge and vicinity

This view is roughly the same as the 2003 panoramic view from the bluff overlooking the south bank of the Missouri River.
The first phase of demolition work was the removal of the bridge deck. In September 2005, the deck was still present but some of the concrete pavement had been removed.
This view is closer to ground level, but still taken from the steps on the cliff next to the War Memorial overlooking the south bank of the river.
Missouri 13 was moved to the new bridge when it opened, but Missouri 224 still runs along the south bank of the river. This view of the old bridge was taken from the south shoulder of Missouri 224.
Mark Roberts
Oakland, California
E-mail: Please see the Contact Information page.
All photographs at this web site were taken by me, copyright 2003, 2005, Mark Roberts, all rights reserved, unless otherwise noted.