The bridge has concrete arch spans flanking a center draw span, which is a steel truss with double-leaf Scherzer rolling lift bascule mechanism. At the time of its completion in 1917, the 300-foot (91 m) main span was the longest rolling-lift bascule span in the world. Vehicular traffic originally included streetcars, but streetcar service across the bridge ended in the 1930s. The bridge was formally renamed the Chief John Ross Bridge in 1950.
The bridge closed in 2005 for a renovation, but reopened on August 4, 2007, ahead of its originally scheduled September completion date.