Although it no longer operates for boats (as reported in 2008), this bridge remains a good example of a state-designed swing through truss bridge. The plaque on the bridge names the waterway Smith's Creek, but maps today show it as Smith Creek.
Information and Findings From North Carolina's Historic Bridge Inventory
Discussion of Bridge
The State Highway Commission designed this through
truss, center-bearing, swing-span bridge in 1930 and contractor T.A.
Loving & Company of Goldsboro completed its construction in December of
the following year. Although largely supplanted by a modern highway to
the east, it continues to carry Castle Hayne Road (Old NC 133) over
Smith Creek into northern Wilmington and remains one of the earliest and
most complete examples of its type in the state. Its operator house and
controls have been replaced, but it retains its original gearing and
mechanical systems, and essentially operates as it did when originally
built. On notice of 24 hours, its swing span is put into motion.
A swing-span bridge rotates in a horizontal plane around a vertical axis
into a position parallel with the marine channel and shore. This allows
vessels to pass along a waterway that would otherwise be obstructed by
the bridge. This bridge utilizes the most common of the two movable-span
technologies: it is center-bearing and therefore rotates around a
central pivot pier set in the waterway. This swing-span design is
lighter and more easily operable than the rim-bearing alternative.
Swing-span bridges can be built with different types of
substructures. The central swinging span of this structure is a
173-foot-long, eight-panel, riveted Warren through truss. With its two
northern tee beam approach spans, the bridge's total length is 248 feet.
The truss has built-up chords of channels with cover plates or lacing.
The verticals and some of the diagonals are rolled sections, which is an
original detail. Due to impact damage from over-height trucks on several
occasions, the bridge's portal bracing and some of the upper laterals
have been replaced in kind. The state also replaced its deck and
stringers in 1962 and strengthened its floorbeams with welded beams in
1982. The essentials of its type, however, remain intact.
Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes
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