The Chester Bridge is a local icon as over 7,000 vehicles daily use it to cross the Mississippi River. It was opened with fanfare in 1942 as part of a highway project connecting Illinois and Missouri over the Mississippi River, but was damaged severely in a tornado just two years later. After $1.5 million in repairs, the bridge was reopened and has been reliably serving people on both sides of the Mississippi River since 1946.
The bridge is 670 feet long and 22 feet wide spanning the 650 foot channel of the Mississippi River at Chester. The Illinois/Missouri state line runs along the center of this channel. The bridge was initially known as the “Crow Fly Route” because it is the only bridge across the Mississippi between St. Louis, MO and Cape Girardeau, MO. The Chester Bridge was also featured in the academy award winning movie, In the Heat of the Night.
The bridge begins near the Chester Welcome Center and the statue of Popeye, paying homage to the great cartoonist E.C. Segar, who was born and raised in Chester. When visiting Chester, make a stop at the Welcome Center to gather information and take in the view of the bridge across the Mighty Mississippi from its observation deck.