Jasper & Newton Counties
The Shoal Creek Low Water Bridge connects Joplin in Jasper County to McIndoe Park in neighboring Newton County. It has been used for nearly a century by residents and visitors and is the most popular drive to Missouri’s Grand Falls within the Park. In 2015 several public hearings were held locally to discuss proposed construction of a new bridge that would replace this one. The new bridge would reportedly cost two to three million dollars. Opponents of building a new bridge in this location say that a new replacement bridge will spoil the beauty of McIndoe Park, interfere with the Audubon Hiking Trails, reduce property values for nearby homeowners, block scenic views and create more traffic noise. Since low water bridges are obviously built in flood prone areas, it is also thought a new bridge would be impractical. The “save the Low Water Bridge Committee’ was formed in November 2015 to see that the ninety-seven year old bridge is preserved at least for pedestrian use. Citizens involved with the effort to save the bridge are seeking Landmark designation for the bridge from the City of Joplin’s Historic Preservation Commission. The group has also suggested to the City of Joplin that a new bridge could be constructed between the eastern Park boundary and nearby Interstate 44 bridges instead. The group has made a five-minute video about their efforts. They have started a Facebook page as well as an online petition aimed at protecting the existing bridge while calling for a replacement bridge to be built in the alternate location. It is by listing on Missouri’s Places in Peril that the group hopes to obtain at least 5,000 signatures in support of their plan. Access their petition at HTTPS://WWW.CHANGE.ORG/P/JOPLIN-CITY-COUNCIL-AND-NEWTON-COUNTY-SAVE-JOPLIN-S-HISTORIC-LOW-WATER-BRIDGE.