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The McKinley Bridge has a long and storied past. In 1910, it opened to both railroad and vehicular traffic. Railroad tracks ran through the strong center portion of the bridge under the trusses, and vehicles crossed on exterior lanes supported by cantilevers. In its early days, the Illinois Traction System used the bridge in its far reaching network of electric streetcars and billed it as the world's longest electric bridge. And the bridge once carried traffic of the historic U.S. Route 66. The bridge was closed for major repairs from 2001 to 2007. It reopened with two traffic lanes down the center, and the south exterior lane fitted as a separate pedestrian and bicycle trailway.
The views from the bridge bikeway are truly amazing. You'll see other bridges and the broad St. Louis skyline to the south; barge traffic passing on the Mississippi River beneath; and heavy industrial river operations as far as the eye can see. Signs along the trail also point out that the Missouri–Illinois state line is right in the middle of the bridge.
Another significant feature of this bridge bikeway is its connection to other trails in the area. At each end it connects directly to long, north-south trails along the river. On the Missouri side, the St. Louis Riverfront Trail runs nearly 12 miles between the bridges of I-270 to the north and I-55/I-64/I-70 to the south. On the Illinois side, the MCT Confluence Trail starts at the bridge and runs north over 18 miles to the city of Alton. A popular 22-mile bicycling loop adds a second river crossing on the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge. The loop: McKinley-Riverfront-Rocks-Confluence.
The only parking for this trail is at the trailhead at McKinley Bridge Roadside Park in Venice, IL.
To get there from I-70 in Missouri, take Exit 248A/Salisbury Street and follow the signs onto McKinley Street eastbound. Once over the bridge, turn right immediately to enter the roadside park.
To get there from I-270 in Illinois, take Exit 3 onto State Route 3 South/Lewis and Clark Boulevard. At 5.4 miles, SR 3 becomes Cedar Street. Continue 2.1 miles to Broadway, where SR 3 turns left and Cedar Street continues straight ahead toward the bridge. Continue on Cedar Street just 0.2 miles more and turn left into the roadside park.
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