The main cantilever span was modeled on the similar Benjamin G. Humphreys Bridge which had been built downstream by Arkansas and Mississippi roughly two decades earlier. However, the river navigation issues that led to the replacement of the Humphreys Bridge with the Greenville Bridge do not apply to the Helena Bridge, as the river curve here is far less severe than the one just upstream from the Humphreys and Greenville Bridges.
The bridge had a stated construction cost of $14 million, and was opened as a toll bridge in 1961, replacing the previous ferry. The total length of the bridge is slightly less than a mile.  The bridge superstructure suffered its first substantial damage from a barge accident in July 1997.