Amelia Earhart Bridge

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Amelia Earhart Bridge
Amelia Earhart Bridge.jpg
The Amelia Earhart Bridge (taller, in background) in 2006. The lower bridge in the foreground is a rail bridge.
Carries US 59
Crosses Missouri River
Locale Atchison County, Kansas and Buchanan County, Missouri
Design Truss bridge
Total length 2,571.2 feet
Longest span 419.8 feet
Opened 1939
Closed 2012
Coordinates 39°33′35″N 95°06′46″W / 39.5597°N 95.1129°W / 39.5597; -95.1129Coordinates: 39°33′35″N 95°06′46″W / 39.5597°N 95.1129°W / 39.5597; -95.1129

The Amelia Earhart Memorial Bridge was a truss bridge over the Missouri River on U.S. Route 59 between Atchison, Kansas and Buchanan County, Missouri.

It was built in 1937–1938 by the Works Progress Administration. It was designed by Sverdrup & Parcel. The bridge was originally named the Mo-Kan Free Bridge because it did not charge a toll (the adjacent railroad bridge served as a crossing for rail traffic as well as cars and pedestrians prior to the construction of the free bridge). The bridge was renamed for aviator Amelia Earhart, a native of Atchison, in 1997 to honor the centennial of her birth in Atchison. The illumination along the trusses and xenon spotlights that shine straight up into the sky from the top of the bridge's two peaks were installed and debuted during the Amelia Earhart Centennial Celebration on July 24, 1997.

The bridge was the topic of a preservation debate on whether to replace it with a new four-lane bridge or to keep it and build a second bridge. Plans for replacement of the bridge with a new four-lane span with 10 foot shoulders were announced in the fall of 2007 by KDOT and MoDOT with construction slated on a new bridge for 2009–2011.[dated info] Because of the Missouri River flood during the summer and fall of 2011, construction was stopped. Work on the bridge was started again toward the end of 2011. The new bridge was opened to traffic in December of 2012. The original bridge was demolished on October 9, 2013 using linear shaped charges.[1]

The Amelia Earhart Bridge (the taller of the two)
The new Atchison bridge, the Amelia Earhart Bridge and the Atchison rail bridge during the 2011 Missouri River floods on June 26, 2011 looking towards downtown Atchison.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Cronkleton, Robert A. (October 9, 2013). "Atchison’s old Amelia Earhart Bridge now resting in Missouri River after blasting". The Kansas City Star. Retrieved October 9, 2013. 

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