This bridge has an extremely unusual history. Built in 1904, the bridge had a relatively short life. It apparently was in need of repair by the 1930s and by 1940 had been closed to traffic for an unknown period of time.
Many sources claim that it was at this time (ca. 1940), that some random person decided that they could masquerade as a contractor and they arrived on site and demolished one of the spans for the scrap metal. Their deception apparently fooled the area residents, and by the time the authorities caught onto the scheme one of the main truss spans had already been demolished. However the validity of this story is questionable, since historic aerial imagery in 1955 clearly shows both spans standing. However, a subsequent image from 1960 shows that the removal has occurred. As a result, its not known if the whole story is just legend, and the portion of the bridge was removed for other reasons, or the story is accurate, but just with the wrong date being passed around.
Today the the other main span that survived the bridge thieves remains standing today. It appears there were once also approach spans leading up to the main spans of the bridge. It is not known if they were removed at the same time as the through truss span or at some other date.
In either case, the bridge has sat abandoned for over 70 years, far longer than most abandoned bridges encountered. Although a close examination of the bridge is not possible, it appears that as would be expected, the bridge has excellent historic integrity, having not been subjected to deteriorating salt, insensitive repairs, wear and tear, modern railing additions, and other factors that bridges which remained in service through the 20th century might display.
Despite any historic and structural integrity that the bridge might possess, the bridge appears to be at severe risk of collapse. The central caisson pier of the bridge appears to be rotating (tipping over). Substructure failures are especially tragic because there might be nothing wrong with the superstructure at all, but if a substructure fails, it will destroy the superstructure in the process.
This bridge has given rise to the names of two parks, the Jones Bridge section of the Chattahooche National Recreation Area occupying the land north and northwest of the bridge, as well as the Jones Bridge County Park occupying the land south of the bridge. In order to prevent the structure after which these parks are named from being destroyed and lost forever, HistoricBridges.org strongly recommends that the truss be removed from the piers, and preserved in a new location. It could be set on the ground as a non-functional exhibit, or it could cross a feature of some sort, carrying non-motorized traffic. There is surely some place in these parks which would benefit from a historically significant truss bridge. Given the rarity of truss bridges, particularly those with pinned connections in Georgia, the preservation of this at-risk bridge should be given high priority and undertaken as soon as possible.
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