OLD MONROE, Mo. – Recent heavy rainstorms caused by Hurricane Beryl are posing a serious threat to a beloved landmark in a small town in Missouri.

Debris, including massive tree trunks, sludge, and even a septic tank, now surround the Old Monroe Rail Bridge, which has been closed to vehicular traffic for over a decade with barricades at both ends.

Despite this closure, walkers, bikers, and other pedestrians continue to use the bridge frequently because of its historical charm and beautiful surroundings. But is it safe?

Julie Murphy, owner of Whistle Stop Grooming & Boarding, expressed concern.

“They need to remove this bridge. You’ve got people walking across it; it’s only a matter of time,” she said.

Bridge collapse leaves residents isolated, emergency access hindered

The Old Monroe Bridge poses not only a hazard to outdoor enthusiasts, but also a risk to the nearby new railroad bridge, located less than 50 feet downstream.

Officials from the United States Geological Survey were seen by locals Tuesday as they were measuring the bridge for any signs of movement. With more rainfall expected and limited funds available for its proper dismantling, fears are growing among residents about the possibility of both bridges collapsing.

Alexis Lemmon, manager of Main Street Bar and Grill, has her worries.

“It is pretty concerning. That would be very devastating, honestly. I know trains are going through here all day every day…they are an important part of our community,” she said.

For over a century, this rail line has been a fixture in Old Monroe, featuring one of the few remaining Pratt truss bridges in the country. The current costs far outweigh what the small town initially anticipated when the state sold it to the town for just $1.