Huey P. Long Bridge (Baton Rouge)

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Huey P. Long Bridge
Huey P Long Bridge Baton Rouge northwest 1.jpg
Huey P. Long Bridge from the northwest
Coordinates30°30′25″N 91°11′51″W / 30.50694°N 91.19750°W / 30.50694; -91.19750Coordinates: 30°30′25″N 91°11′51″W / 30.50694°N 91.19750°W / 30.50694; -91.19750
Carries4 lanes of US 190
1 Kansas City Southern rail line
CrossesMississippi River
LocaleBaton Rouge, Louisiana
Official nameHuey P. Long - O.K. Allen Bridge
Other name(s)Old Bridge
Maintained byLouisiana Department of Transportation and Development[citation needed]
ID number611700071000001
Characteristics
DesignCantilever truss bridge
Total length5,879 feet (1,792 m)
Clearance below113 feet (34 m)
History
Construction cost$8.4 million[1]
OpenedAugust 1940
Statistics
Daily traffic17,300
Huey P. Long Bridge is located in Louisiana
Huey P. Long Bridge
Huey P. Long Bridge
Location in Louisiana

The Huey P. Long - O.K. Allen Bridge is a truss cantilever bridge over the Mississippi River carrying US 190 (Airline Highway) and one rail line between East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana and West Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana.

Although the bridge is named after former Louisiana governors Huey P. Long and Oscar K. Allen, it is known locally in the Baton Rouge Area as "the old bridge".[2]

Design[edit]

The entrance to the Kaiser Aluminum plant under the bridge in 1972

The bridge is similar in design to the Huey P. Long Bridge in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana. Its lanes are narrow and during cold weather, it has a tendency to ice over.

Due to the low height of the bridge, Baton Rouge is the furthest inland port on the Mississippi River that can accommodate ocean-going tankers and cargo carriers. The ships transfer their cargo (grain, oil, cars, containers) at Baton Rouge onto rails and pipelines (to travel east–west) or barges (to travel north). In addition, the river depth decreases significantly just to the north, near Port Hudson.[3]

State of repair[edit]

The bridge itself is currently in a poor state of repair; the girder foundations on both railroad approach spans are beginning to show hairline cracks, but engineers have assured the city that the bridge is not in any imminent danger.[2] The bridge has been repainted several times since its construction, including in the mid-1960s when the bridge was repainted orange.

The bridge was originally painted blue, but dust from the Kaiser Aluminum plant on the southeast bank of the river kept coating the bridge with aluminum oxide (bauxite). Finally, the state gave up trying to keep the bridge blue, and went with the orange color of the dust.[4] [5]

Planned Interstate 410[edit]

The bridge was once planned as part of an Interstate 410.

Accidents[edit]

Only one person is reported to have driven off the edge of the bridge. In 1945, a cargo truck driver headed eastbound careened off the sides. The driver fell through the windshield and was crushed on a dock as his truck landed on top of him.[2] The scars from the accident can still be seen on the dock to one's right approaching the east end of the eastbound span.

In popular culture[edit]

The bridge is featured in a scene in the 1982 Richard Pryor film, The Toy.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Will Sentel (December 3, 2013), Old bridge getting new look, The Advocate, archived from the original on August 10, 2014, retrieved August 7, 2014
  2. ^ a b c "Paint Party". The Riverside Reader. [Port Allen, LA] October 1, 2012. Pg. 1. Print
  3. ^ "Port of Greater Baton Rouge". Archived from the original on June 14, 2006. Retrieved April 26, 2008.
  4. ^ AA Roads - US Highway 190 Mississippi River Bridge Archived June 9, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ John Weeks.com - Huey P. Long Bridge