This is a pair of bascule bridges, one carrying eastbound traffic, the other carrying westbound traffic. This pair of bascule bridges are similar in appearance, but not identical, and one has older girders which were moved and reused here.
The history of these bridges is confusing when looking at the National Bridge Inventory, which lists a 1963 construction date for one bridge and a 1989 construction date for the other. However, both bascules are riveted, and rivets were not used in 1989. Their girder design is essentially identical.
Ray Williams contacted HistoricBridges.org and provided the following information.
The southbound span was built in 1963 and was a toll span a long time. From the early 1970s, city and county officials talked of expanding/replacing the 2 lane bridge and highway. By the mid 1980s, monies were awarded for the replacement of the U.S. Hwy 80 bridge over Wilmington River in Thunderbolt, Georgia. The approaches at Causton Bluff were built and to help expedite the opening of the new bridges/highway, and to ease the burden on taxpayers, parts of the old U.S.Hwy 80 drawbridge was used to complete the new span. This explans the rivets on the 1989 construction.
Both of these spans are currently being replaced with a fixed high level span that will not impede marine or motor traffic. First span set to open this year, and the other set to open in 2024.
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