Huey P. Long Bridge (Baton Rouge)
Huey P. Long Bridge
|Carries||4 lanes of US 190|
1 Kansas City Southern rail line
|Locale||Baton Rouge, Louisiana|
|Official name||Huey P. Long - O.K. Allen Bridge|
|Other name(s)||Old Bridge|
|Maintained by||Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development|
|Design||Cantilever truss bridge|
|Total length||5,879 feet (1,792 m)|
|Clearance below||113 feet (34 m)|
|Construction cost||$8.4 million|
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.
It was the only bridge across the Mississippi in Baton Rouge from its opening until April 1968, when the Horace Wilkinson Bridge ("the new bridge") carrying Interstate 10 opened. Until 2011, when the John James Audubon Bridge opened between St. Francisville and New Roads, it was the last bridge crossing the Mississippi before the Natchez-Vidalia Bridge, almost 100 miles to the north.
The bridge is similar in design to the Huey P. Long Bridge in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana (until the downstream bridge was widened to six lanes in 2013). 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.
State of repair
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. 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. 
Planned Interstate 410
The bridge was once planned as part of an Interstate 410.
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. 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
- Transport portal
- Engineering portal
- United States portal
- List of crossings of the Lower Mississippi River
- Kaiser Aluminum plant
- Will Sentel (December 3, 2013), Old bridge getting new look, The Advocate, archived from the original on August 10, 2014, retrieved August 7, 2014
- "Paint Party". The Riverside Reader. [Port Allen, LA] October 1, 2012. Pg. 1. Print
- "Port of Greater Baton Rouge". Archived from the original on June 14, 2006. Retrieved April 26, 2008.
- AA Roads - US Highway 190 Mississippi River Bridge Archived June 9, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
- John Weeks.com - Huey P. Long Bridge
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