Historic bridge comes tumbling down

The historic North River Bridge under demolition to make way for a new $2 million dollar span

It's funny how you can get attached to something like an old, tumbled-down bridge.

As the North River Bridge on Route 168 west of Palmyra comes down, it's stirring up some powerful bridges to the past.

â??It's kinda sad to have turned into the driveway to Grandma's for Sunday dinners ever since you were born and today see the memories of everyone in the area being removed,â?? Marla Appel Kiel said.

Not only did Kiel go river watching with her grandma growing up, she moved to the area herself and has lived near the bridge for the last 30 years. She's crossed it thousands of times, but those days are past. Until the new 2-million-dollar span goes up this fall, Kiel and her neighbors have to take a long detour around the North River.

The demolition of the bridge started earlier this month. It was built back in 1932 and was eligible for the

National Register of Historic Places

. That couldn't save it from the wrecking ball, though.

â??Vehicles have changed significantly since the historic bridge was built; the new bridge will be safer because of its width, especially for farm equipment since there won't be any trusses on the side,â?? said Brian Haeffner, area engineer with the

Missouri Department of Transportation.

Kiel doesn't disagree that it's time for the bridge to go.

â??A new bridge is needed for all to be safe, but still it's bittersweet,â?? Kiel said. â??I think everyone has a story in our area associated with this old bridge.â??

Kiel will be able to look back at her pictures of the North River Bridge and she can review all the documentation MoDOT gathered as part of the process of ripping out a historic structure; but she's sad to know she'll never cross that bridge again.