Twentieth Century – final third

The Interstate Highway System is intended to tie the major cities of the United States together. In St. Louis this also necessitates crossing the Mississippi River to connect the city with Chicago, Indianapolis, Louisville, and the rest of the Eastern portion of the country.

They built one bridge. Three interstates — I 70, I 55, and I 64 a.k.a. US 40 — converge in downtown St. Louis and skim across this steel deck girder bridge together.

It bears the official name of Bernard F. Dickman Bridge. Don’t ask for directions using that name. Natives, media traffic reporters, and signage will direct you to the Poplar Street Bridge. Opened in 1967 and located a short distance downstream from the landmark Arch, it carries a constant stream of cars, trucks, and motorcycles to and from the city.

Using the bridge for the first time? Drive across it infrequently?

My tip: Be alert to which of the interstate routes you want to follow. Some of the exits are in front of you before you realize you’re over land, not river.

Poplar Street Bridge viewed from upstream. Low winter water.

Poplar Street Bridge viewed from upstream. Low winter water.

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