Poplar Street BridgeEdit profile
The Poplar Street Bridge, officially the Bernard F. Dickmann Bridge, completed in 1967, is a 647-foot (197 m) long (197m) deck girder bridge across the Mississippi River between St. Louis, Missouri and East St. Louis, Illinois. The bridge arrives on the Missouri shore line just south of the Gateway Arch. Planned just before construction of the Arch, the builders in 1959 were to request that 25 acres (100,000 m 2) of the Gateway Arch property be turned over from the National Park Service for the bridge. The request generated enormous controversy and ultimately 2.5 acres (10,000 m 2) of the Jefferson Expansion National Memorial (which included all of the original platted area of St. Louis when it was acquired in the 1930s and 1940s) was given to the bridge. Three Interstates and a U.S. Route cross the entire bridge and one, Interstate 44, is marked only on the Missouri half, the only quad route concurrency of interstate highways in existence. It is crossed by approximately 100,000 vehicles daily, making it the second most heavily used bridge on the river, after the I-94 Dartmouth Bridge in Minneapolis Minnesota. Some of that load is intended to be diverted to the New Mississippi River Bridge. Interstate 55, Interstate 64, Interstate 70, and U.S. Route 40 cross the Mississippi on the Poplar Street bridge. U.S. Route 66 was also concurrent over this bridge until 1979, and U.S. 50 was routed over it before the interstates were constructed. According to current construction plans, I-70 will be realigned to cross the river once the New Mississippi River Bridge is completed by 2015. The east end of the bridge crosses the south end of what was Bloody Island which Robert E. Lee connected to the mainland of Illinois with landfill in the 1850s. During its island days several Missouri politicians fought duels there. What was Bloody Island is now a train yard. Although the bridge's official name honors former St. Louis mayor Bernard F. Dickmann, it is most-commonly referred to as the Poplar Street Bridge, with many St. Louisans unaware of its official name. The Missouri end of the bridge sits over Poplar Street, and the media started referring to it by that name long before the bridge opened.