Chain of Rocks


July, 2013Posted by Bill


The Chain of Rocks Bridge is the most famous Mississippi River crossing that U.S. 66 used. From Hamel, U.S. 66 uses Illinois 157 to Bluff Road on the west side of Edwardsville. It passes through Downtown Edwardsville. At Bluff Road, Illinois 157 turns south, while U.S. 66 continues west on Chain of Rocks Road to Mitchell. At Mitchell U.S. 66 enters Interstate 270 very briefly. This is to cross the Norfolk Southern Railroad. In Granite City, U.S. 66 follows Chain of Rocks Road to Illinois 3. The original path continued straight along what is marked as "Spur U.S. 66" to the Chain of Rocks Bridge. The current historical marked path, rejoins I-270, at Illinois 3 and heads west into Missouri.

View 1936-1965 Chain of Rocks Bridge in a larger map

Northern Madison County
In Northern Madison County the segments of U.S. 66 listes in the Springfield to Staunton section rejoin. This includes the one that follows Illinois 4 from Springfield, via Carlinville. The path that follows Interstate 55, via Litchfield. Plus, the path that goes through Livingston. All three paths join with Illinois 4, north of the mile 33 interchange on Interstate 55. U.S. 66 turns from Illinois 4 and joins the west Frontage Road at the interchange with Interstate 55 and Illinois 4.

SB U.S. 66/IL 4 north of I-55.

A marker showing the turn of U.S. 66 from IL 4.

Shortly after making a right turn from IL 4, U.S. 66 makes a left for the Frontage Road from Worden Road.

North Hamel, you'll see the neon cross on St. Paul's Lutheran Church. In Hamel, U.S. Rt. 66 follows Illinois State Route 157.

St. Paul's Lutheran Church.

The welcome sign on NB U.S. Rt. 66.

Illinois State Route 157 will take you through Edwardsville. This passes through the heart of the city. Edwardsville is the county seat for Madison County. Near the intersections with Illinois 143 and Illinois 159 is the Madison County Courthouse and Edwardsville Public Library. On the west side of Edwardsville is the Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville campus. When U.S. 66/Illinois 157 reaches Bluff Road, Illinois 157 turns south, while U.S. 66 continues straight along Chain of Rocks Road.

A fountain in a park near the Edwardsville Public Library.

SB IL 157/WB U.S. 66 west of Downtown Edwardsville.

A sign at the entrance to SIUE.

Mitchell is a small town along Chain of Rocks Road. This is the just west of Illinois 111. Here U.S. 66 enters Interstate 270 to cross the Norfolk Southern railroad.

An old sign along U.S. 66 for the old Bel Air Drive In.

The sign for the Luna.

The Luna.

A close up on the 66 sign at the Luna

Granite City
At Old Alton Road, U.S. 66 exits Interstate 270 and then turns west on Chain of Rocks Road. Once you reach Illinois 3, the marked path for U.S. 66 has you turn north on Illinois 3 and rejoin Interstate 270. This will take you into Missouri. At Illinois 3, if you continue west on Chain of Rocks Road, along "SPUR U.S. 66" you will continue to the Illinois side of the Chain of Rocks Bridge.

The sign out front of a custard stand.

The stand.

A old gas station just west of IL 3.
NB U.S. 66 at the canal bridge.

NB U.S. 66 crossing the Chain of Rocks Canal.

The sign on SB U.S. 66 for Chouteau Island.

Looking north along U.S. Rt. 66 at the end of the pavement at the Chain of Rocks Bridge.

U.S. Rt. 66 crossed the Mississippi River on the Chain of Rocks Bridge. It was 24 feet wide and had a sharp turn in the middle. Now it is a bike path across the river. The bridge is over a mile long.