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Readers: We’re Calling It The “Poplar Street Bridge” Regardless of the Official Name

October 23, 2013 Politics/Policy, Popular Culture, Transportation 6 Comments

Nicknames tend to stick, for better or worse. The I-64/Hwy 40/I-55 span across the Mississippi River was first known officially as the  Bernard F. Dickman Bridge and was recently officially renamed the Congressman William L. Clay Sr. Bridge.

The Poplar Street Bridge over the Mississippi River was completed in 1967
The Poplar Street Bridge over the Mississippi River was completed in 1967

In the unscientific poll last week readers made it clear they’ll  continue to call it the Poplar Street Bridge, after the street that was once at that location.

Q: In the future, what do you plan to call the I-55/I-64 span over the Mississippi River?

  1. Poplar Street Bridge 99 [89.19%]
  2. PSB 9 [8.11%]
  3. Bernard F. Dickman Bridge 2 [1.8%]
  4. Congressman William L. Clay Sr. Bridge 1 [0.9%]
  5. Other 0 [0%]

I’m one of the 8% that calls it the PSB. Poplar Street still exists in a few places under the bridge, like at Broadway. Maybe in 45 years it’ll be officially renamed the Francis G. Slay Bridge.

— Steve Patterson


Currently there are "6 comments" on this Article:

  1. Saw this picture in an urbanstl forum thread. A shot from the film “Identity Thief” showing an approach into St. Louis via the Poplar Street Bridge. I want this to be real!

    It shows the bridge transferring into a street level boulevard heading west, new residential on Chouteau’s Landing and a very interesting building nuzzled up to the bridge at the south Archgrounds.

    Make all that happen, St. Louis, and I’ll call the bridge whatever you want me to!

    • JZ71 says:

      Welcome to a NIMBY fantasyland. The interstate highway system was created to eliminate stoplights and speed up cross-country travel. If every community could now “just make it go away”, we’d be reverting to those nostalgic days of Route 66 and doubling our travel times. The time to oppose / propose this was 60 or 70 years ago. The only way to make it a reality, today, is to shift your pain onto another community – see the new bridge – do the communities north of downtown “deserve” that increase in traffic?!

      • Oh, no way in hell it would (or possibly should) happen, but it is a pretty sight to see. Especially, like I said, some of the infill on Chouteau’s Landing and action on the south Archgrounds.

  2. Todd Spangler says:

    I had read that the plan is to add some lanes, so apparently, the intention is to keep it around for a few more decades, anyway. As unspectacular as it looks, the bridge is surprisingly high tech, particularly compared to the rather poorly designed (and maintained) I-35W bridge in Minneapolis that collapsed in 2007, which was completed the same year as the Poplar Street Bridge in 1967.
    One of the innovative features on the PSB is the lightweight steel deck, and this is also its chief curse because the bridge is not designed to handle the weight of a conventional concrete deck, as the Eads Bridge has, for instance. Instead, a relatively thin (1 -2″) composite coating system is applied to the steel to act as a wear surface, and, in practice, the durability of these coatings has proven to be fairly poor. The PSB is currently on its 5th coating, which has worn out again and needs to be completely replaced once more. It appears at this point that this is likely to be a continuing issue and annoyance for drivers and MODOT for as long as the bridge remains in existence.

  3. samizdat says:

    I took to calling it the BFD. Just because. And uh, no, Clay doesn’t deserve to have anything named for him. For that matter, neither does Gephardt.

    • dempster holland says:

      Bill Clay was one of the leaders in the civil rights movement of the
      1960s and as a congressman fought for social justice for decades.
      He has helped to improve the lives of thousands of St Louisans and
      richly deserves any honor accorded him


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