This large railroad truss swing bridge once carried highway traffic on a shared deck, until the highway bridge to the south was completed in 1971. The large fixed truss approach spans are 300 feet, and the swing span is 300 feet as well. There is one shorter through truss span near the each end of the bridge, at 150 feet each.
In 1938, the bridge was altered by the addition of truss spans. A Report of the Chief of Engineers U.S. Army (Army Corps of Engineers) stated the following:
Lengthening of the bridge over the Atchafalaya River at Simmesport, La., by the addition of two 300-foot steel truss spans on the west side of the river was completed on December 18, 1938. This work was done under a tripartite agreement between the United States, the Louisiana & Arkansas Railway, and the Louisiana Highway Commission in pursuance of the program for the improvement of the discharge capacity of the Atchafalaya River. After construction was completed, work of enlarging the river cross section by dredging along the west bank was undertaken. Cut has now been made to project depth and this section no longer constitutes a channel constriction. Further enlargement of the cut to the west to the ultimate project limits will be provided by natural river action and by such dredging as later may be found necessary.
Above: Historical photo of bridge.
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