Located at river mile marker 109.5, the Chester Bridge is a two-lane traffic truss bridge which was constructed by Sverdrup and Parcel and Associates, Inc. of St. Louis, Missouri. Construction began in 1941 and was finished in 1942 at a cost of $1,385,000. The bridge opened on August 23, 1942 and operated as a toll bridge. On July 29, 1944. the main span was destroyed by a severe tornadic force thunderstorm. The bridge reopened 2 years in August , 1946 and operated as a toll bridge until January, 1989, when tolls ceased to be collected.
The bridge was initially know as the "The Crow Fly Route" likely because it is the only bridge across the Mississippi River between St. Louis, MO and Cape Girardeau, MO.
The state line runs along the center of the channel so the north end of the bridge is an Illinois state highway and the south end of the bridge is a Missouri state highway. The river at Chester actually runs east and west!
The main span is 670 feet long and 22 feet wide. The Mississippi River channel at Chester is about 650 feet wide. The river drops approximately 6 inches in elevation for each mile it travels downstream.
Well over 7,000 vehicles cross the bridge daily.
The Chester Bridge was featured in a scene from the academy award winning movie "In the Heat of the Night."