Swann Covered Bridge

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Swann CB
The Swann Covered Bridge near Cleveland, Alabama before its recent restoration.
Coordinates33°59′51.35″N 86°36′5.13″W / 33.9975972°N 86.6014250°W / 33.9975972; -86.6014250
Swann Covered Bridge
Swann Covered Bridge is located in Alabama
Swann Covered Bridge
Swann Covered Bridge is located in the US
Swann Covered Bridge
Nearest cityCleveland, Alabama
Coordinates33°59′51.35″N 86°36′5.13″W / 33.9975972°N 86.6014250°W / 33.9975972; -86.6014250Coordinates: 33°59′51.35″N 86°36′5.13″W / 33.9975972°N 86.6014250°W / 33.9975972; -86.6014250
Area1 acre (0.4 ha)
Architectural styleOther, Three Span Town Truss
MPSBlount County Covered Bridges TR
NRHP reference #81000123 [1]
Added to NRHPAugust 20, 1981
Carriessingle lane motor traffic
CrossesLocust Fork of the Black Warrior River
LocaleCleveland, Alabama
Maintained byBlount County Commission
ID number01-05-05 (WGCB)
DesignTown Lattice truss
Total length324 ft (99 m)
Width9 ft (3 m) clearance
Load limit3 US tons (2.72 metric tons)
Clearance above8 ft (2 m)
Construction end1933[2]

The Swann Covered Bridge, also called the Joy Covered Bridge[2] or Swann-Joy Covered Bridge, is a county-owned, wood-&-metal combination style covered bridge that spans the Locust Fork of the Black Warrior River in Blount County, Alabama, United States. It is located on Swann Bridge Road off State Route 79, just west of the town of Cleveland,[2] about 10 miles (16 km) northwest of Oneonta. Coordinates are 33°59′51.35″N 86°36′5.13″W / 33.9975972°N 86.6014250°W / 33.9975972; -86.6014250 (33.997597, -86.601425).

Built in 1933,[2] the 324-foot (99 m) bridge is a Town Lattice truss construction over three spans. Its WGCB number is 01-05-05. The Swann Covered Bridge was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on August 20, 1981. It is currently the longest-existing covered bridge in Alabama and one of the longest in the United States. After having been closed to motor vehicle traffic in 2009, it was restored and reopened to motor vehicle traffic on October 22, 2012. It is accessible via Swann Bridge Road from both sides. As of June 9, 2018, the bridge is once again closed until further notice after a motor vehicle accident damaged the western entrance of the structure and concrete support.[3] The Swann Covered Bridge is maintained by the Blount County Commission and the Alabama Department of Transportation.


The Swann Covered Bridge was built by a crew led by Zelma C. Tidwell[4] over a scenic gorge of the Locust Fork on property owned by the Swann Farm. It was originally dubbed the 'Joy Covered Bridge', as the bridge connected Cleveland with the nearby community of Joy.[2] The bridge was restored by the Blount County Commission in 1979. After the 385-foot Nectar Covered Bridge (also located in Blount County) burned down in 1993,[4] the Swann Covered Bridge became the longest covered bridge existing in Alabama. It is one of 3 historic covered bridges remaining in Blount County.[4]

After a routine inspection, the Swann Covered Bridge was closed in 2009 due to unsafe conditions along with nearby Easley Covered Bridge. The Horton Mill Covered Bridge was already closed as a result of vandalism which occurred in 2007. Restoration of all three bridges began in late 2011. Money for these projects primarily came from the federal National Historic Covered Bridge Preservation Program as well as transportation enhancement funds. The $469,110 construction contract was awarded to Bob Smith Construction of Trussville, Alabama. The Swann Covered Bridge would be the first of the three to be restored. Wooden structural pieces were repaired or replaced as needed and new tin roofs were put on all three bridges in order to keep the weather off vital supporting timbers. Total restoration costs for the covered bridges was approximately $540,000. The difference was covered by county expenditures.

Following necessary repairs and upgrades, the Swann Covered Bridge was reopened to motor vehicle traffic on October 22, 2012. Photos of restoration to the bridge can be viewed via The Birmingham News on AL.com (linked below).

The Alabama doom metal band Locust Fork in front of Swann Covered Bridge May, 2014.

In late 2015, cameras were installed at the three remaining covered bridges in Blount County to help deter vandalism after graffiti was found on the Easley Covered Bridge a year earlier.[5] It has since been cleaned and re-painted.

2018 motor vehicle accident[edit]

On June 9, 2018, the Swann Covered Bridge was closed until further notice after an SUV sped around a curve and crashed into its western entrance.[3] The incident was caught on a bridge camera. There was moderate damage to the bridge and concrete support, estimated at a little under $50,000.[3] According to the Blount County Commission, there is no timetable as to when repairs will be made.[3]


Main Span Length: 75.1 ft (22.9 m)[6]

Total Span Length: 330.1 ft (100.6 m)

Deck Width: 16.1 ft (4.9 m)

Vertical Clearance: 13.0 ft (4.0 m)

Underclearance: 27.0 ft (8.2 m)

Above measurements are approximate and unofficial. Total span length is not always the same as total bridge length. [6]


  1. ^ National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Judy Woodward Bates, "Blount County, Alabama" (article), AmericanProfile.com, 2000-12-24 (see below: References).
  3. ^ a b c d WVTM Channel 13, Historic Blount County bridge shut down after weekend crash by Dan Odle, June 11, 2018, Retrieved Jun. 12, 2018.
  4. ^ a b c Mark G. Stith, "Tunnels in time", Southern Living, October 1997, webpage: findarticles-851.
  5. ^ ABC Channel 33/40, Cameras installed at 3 Blount County covered bridges by Alisa Long, October 5, 2015, Retrieved Jan. 30, 2016.
  6. ^ a b "Historic Bridges Database". Historic Bridges of the United States. James Baughn. 2007-11-08.

See also[edit]


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