The Champ Clark bridge was formerly a toll bridge and was named after Beauchamp Clark, a former speaker of the house from Bowling Green, MO. During the original construction, a span of the bridge collapsed on September 6, 1927, due to fault falsework. The second span from the Missouri shore collapsed without warning just after quitting time. The span collapse delayed completion for at least one year.
The bridge was designed by Harrington, Howard, and Ash, with construction being completed by the Missouri Valley Bridge and Iron co. of Leavenworth, KS and Wisconsin Bridge and Iron co. of Milwaukee, WI.
The bridge was narrow, allowing for two lanes of traffic on a 20-foot deck. The bridge was 2,286.4 feet in length. The span over the main channel of the Mississippi River was 418.5 feet in length.
This project entailed the explosive demolition of the through-truss bridge, spans 2, 3, 4 & 5, and 6 river pier bases over the Mississippi River.
Integration of the crews to work simultaneously made it possible to bring the job in on schedule and without incident.