Drone Footage of the Historic Meridian Bridge in Yankton
The Meridian Bridge in Yankton opened on October 11, 1924, and carried US Route 81 over the Missouri River. The bridge connected Yankton on the South Dakota side to rural Cedar County on the Nebraska side. Back then, motorists would have to pay a toll to cross its 3,013-foot span, but tolls ended in 1953.
The bridge was originally designed to carry train traffic on the lower level and automobiles on the upper. That wasn't meant to be as a train never crossed the span. Northbound traffic from Nebraska would cross on the top span and southbound from South Dakota on the lower.
Engineers built a lift system into the bridge to raise the middle span to allow for taller boat traffic to pass under. The lift mechanism was removed sometime in the 1980s. In 1993, the bridge was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
After years of continuous use and exposure to the harsh Midwest weather, the condition of the bridge deteriorated to the point that it became clear that a new bridge was needed. On October 11, 2008, the new Discovery Bridge, offering four lanes of traffic, opened 84 years to the day of the dedication of the Meridian Bridge.
Median Bridge is enjoying retirement from carrying cars and now carries a lighter load as a pedestrian bridge, offering great views of the Missouri River, especially from its top deck.
But as good as those views are, it's tough to beat the scenery from a drone flown by Carson Bower. Carson takes you on a fight around the bridge and even gets close to the lifting mechanism at the top of each tower. Check out the video below.