The vertical lift span has on the southern endpost an American Bridge plaque with 1971 on it. So the approach spans are American Bridge fabricated in 1928, and the lift span was built in 1971.
More old pics to come
From "The Arkansas News": The American Bridge Company of Chicago built the Baring Cross Bridge. They used Post’s patent truss design, a system that consisted of two fixed spans of 191 feet each, one fixed span of 183 feet, the draw—355 feet— which when open made two passageways of 160 feet each, and a fixed span of 60 feet.
The structure rested on cast iron cylinders sunk into bedrock 40 feet below the surface of the water and filled with stone and concrete. The draw was made of iron, the other spans of timber, with iron stays, bolts and braces. It cost $300,000 to build the Baring Cross Bridge at 1870s values.
Although the bridge designers planned a pedestrian and traffic roadway to go on top of the trusses of the railroad bridge, this feature was not completed until four years later in September 1877. This roadway was 23 feet wide, floored with 3 inch thick pine planking (which had been “Bumettized”—chemically treated with zinc chloride for protection) laid diagonally atop cypress chords. It was protected by high hand rails on each side.
The roadway was on a level approach from the Little Rock side of the bridge, but a 650 foot long inclined approach was needed on the Argenta (North Little Rock) side.
In the summer of 1 890, engineers discovered that the upper roadway had seriously deteriorated to the point of being dangerous. The cypress chords supporting the roadway had been crushed and splintered, dropping the highway floor several inches out of line. The Baring Cross Bridge closed for several months for repairs. Workmen replaced the wooden spans with a steel structure; they also removed the upper roadway and placed it on the same level as the truck floor.
For the next 37 years the Baring Cross Bridge served well the Cairo and Fulton Railroad, saw its merger with the St. Louis Iron Mountain and Southern Railroad, and in 1917, the sale of that railroad to the Missouri Pacific Lines. The Baring Cross Bridge was continually modernized and strengthened through-out this period as rail traffic increased, and longer and heavier loads were carried by rail.
From "The Encyclopedia of Arkansas" The original Baring Cross Bridge was a single-track bridge with a swing navigation span, and it was built with iron and wood. The bridge opened on December 21, 1873, to a large crowd of people. It consisted of four Howe Truss spans and one navigation swing span for a total length of 978 feet. In 1877, the Baring Cross Bridge Company constructed a highway deck on top of the bridge and charged tolls for its use by the public. In early 1886, the company rebuilt most of the bridge, with the exception of the piers, and lowered the highway deck to the same level as the rail.
The picture is misleading. The bridge is a metal truss. The approach spans area Pratt through trusses and the turn span is a Warren through truss. The wood seen on the pratts are supports for the roadway deck on top of the bridge. The roadway is the reason for the extra wood piers under the pratts. The roadway was removed around 1900 and the bridge stayed intacted until the late 1960s when the turnspan was replaced as part of the Arkansas River Nav. Project.
This was originally a wooden truss bridge with a swing span. Railroad traffic went thru the truss, and vehicle traffic on top of the truss.
Attached is a photo of the original bridge under construction.
Webmaster's note: The photo that was here has been incorporated into the main site.