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Daniel Boone Bridge section to be razed after almost 80 years of service

This photo, taken in May 2015, shows the newest (right) and oldest (left) spans of the Daniel Boone Bridge. With the newest span now complete and renovations finished on the middle span, the oldest span is scheduled for demolition. (MoDOT photo)

This photo, taken in May 2015, shows the newest (right) and oldest (left) spans of the Daniel Boone Bridge. With the newest span now complete and renovations finished on the middle span, the oldest span is scheduled for demolition. (MoDOT photo)

The Daniel Boone Bridge is coming down!

Now that westbound Interstate 64 traffic has been moved off the older span of the Daniel Boone Bridge across the Missouri River, that span of the bridge is coming down, probably in early 2016.

Whether its demolition will include blasting is something the Missouri Department of Transportation (MODOT) is still working out.

Jessica Hochlan, a spokesperson for MoDOT’s St. Louis office, said on Nov. 6 that the bridge, which opened in 1937, will probably be removed in January or February. She further noted that construction crews will dismantle portions of the bridge before considering the use of explosives to drop what remains. Grading and cleanup on the overall project is expected to be finished by late spring or early summer.

While using explosives to drop portions of bridges has proven to a popular event, Hochlan said one worry, in terms of using those explosives, is that the old bridge is adjacent to the two remaining west and eastbound spans of the bridge.

About 1,000 people lined the riverbank in St. Charles in December 2012 to watch the blasting of two sections of I-70’s westbound Blanchette Bridge. Those spans, which fell dramatically into the Missouri River, were being rebuilt.

Should the Daniel Boone Bridge meet with a similar fate, Hochlan said a lack of good public viewing areas might pose another problem. When the Blanchette Bridge fell, many onlookers had a clear and safe view of the blast from Frontier Park, which is just upstream from the bridge in St. Charles. Still, Hochlan said, “We’ll see what we can do.”

The move of westbound traffic from the old span to the newer span is the culmination of a project that has roots going back decades. The newest span of the bridge, carrying eastbound I-64 traffic, was opened in June. The middle span built in the 1980s was closed for rehabbing until westbound traffic was moved onto it earlier this month.

Construction on the new span, part of an $111 million project that began in January 2013, was designed to replace the old bridge, which is falling apart.

For now, three lanes are open across the westbound bridge. The far right lane across the bridge is closed until of the end of the year.

On the St. Louis County side of the bridge, about 1,000 feet of the Monarch Chesterfield Levee Trail remains closed until early 2016. Once the trail is reopened, users will be able to access the Katy Trail in St. Charles County by crossing the bridge on a pedestrian pathway that is expected to open early next year.

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