Boone County Waves Goodbye to Wagon Wheel Bridge

Officials in Boone County recently oversaw the demolition of the Wagon Wheel Bridge, just west of Boone. This is one of the historic features in the county, but sadly it had to be demolished. This came after ice jams made it impossible to use the bridge. Last spring, the bridge was partially collapsed, and in a bid to prevent any accidents, the authorities deemed it fit to tear down the rest of the bridge this week.

The west side of the bridge had collapsed during the spring on March 10th, and the east part was finally demolished for the safety of the residents. It was in late February when ice jams dealt a heavy blow on the bridge, and soon after that parts of the bridge fell off into the Des Moines River. So huge was the damage caused by the ice jams that the bridge had been pushed out 8 – 10 feet before it finally fell off into the river.

Due to the large size of the bridge, experts saw it impossible to save the bridge. According to Boone County engineers, saving the bridge was feasibly impossible, with the overall cost of removing the bridge approximated to be well over $140,000.

Saving Kate Shelley High Bridge

However, demolishing the Wagon Wheel Bridge was not all in vain. Experts were of the view that it was necessary to demolish the bridge in order to save Kate Shelley high Bridge, just a few yards south. If not demolished, the collapse of Wagon Wheel Bridge would have put Kate Shelly High Bridge at risk, especially if any of the debris from Wagon Wheel would have made it down the river.

It is worth noting that Wagon Wheel Bridge was one of the few remaining large-scale wagon truss bridges still standing tall in Missouri. Having been around since 1910, there is a lot of history behind the Wagon Wheel Bridge. For a number of years, it had actually been closed for access to vehicles. There were proposals by the county to build a new bridge just next to the original one, but these proposals never made it to see the light of day. They were openly rejected in a public vote.

In August 2015, the Wagon Wheel Bridge which had been added to the National Registry of Historic Places in 1998 was severely damaged as a result of a fire that broke out.