The bridge replaced the Combination Bridge, so called because it carried both rail and highway traffic, built in 1896. The new bridge was dedicated in July 1981, and the old one demolished. However, in May 1982 a 32-inch (810 mm) crack was discovered in the downstream tie girder. The bridge was hurriedly closed, and measures taken to ensure that it would not collapse into the river, affecting barge traffic. Initially, it was estimated that repairs would take six days; in fact, the bridge was completely closed for seven months, and did not fully re-open to traffic until May 1983.