Update: I wrote an article about the Poplar Street Bridge at St. Louis Magazine years later. The proposed RV park under the bridge was mercifully never built. The bridge is still under construction.
The Poplar Street Bridge was the last of the four great bridges over the Mississippi in downtown St. Louis, and the sixth to cross the river in the city limits. Like all of the bridges, it has its own distinct character, one that is perhaps not as aesthetically pleasing as the famous Eads Bridge, or as intimidating as the massiveness of the MacArthur and its leviathan superstructure.
Built simultaneously with the construction of the Gateway Arch, the bridge has come to represent for many the antithesis of the design ideals embodied in its more famous neighbor to the north.
Upon examining the bridge up close from below, I realized that the bridge is actually two separate bridge decks, sitting on the same piers as they cross the river. For some reason, people “hang out” in the shadow of the bridge along Leonor K. Sullivan Blvd; on the day I was there, the roar of drills up on the deck of the bridge was overwhelming.
I was a little mystified by the orange paint showing through, but then I realized it must be a method of showing where the gray top coat has flaked off. There was a lot of orange paint showing.
It is truly an ugly and depressing bridge, and a worthy addition to the “They Don’t Build Them Like They Used To” club.
The approaches to the bridge on the St. Louis side are depressing, to say the least. I sometimes imagine all of the teaming life and industry that once occurred on what is now essentially, dead, useless and fallow space.
The whole area is just flat out ugly, with nothing but stained flood walls and railroad trestles crossing each other and the interstate above.
Seriously, they want to put an RV parking lot under the bridge approaches? Do they realize how loud it is? I admit that I don’t own an RV, and therefore don’t know how good the insulation is, but I can’t imagine it would drown out the roar of traffic up above.
I see little hope of the space under the Poplar Street Bridge being “activated” by any proposal, short of tearing the bridge down, which is not going to happen anytime soon anyway.