1 vote

BNSF/UP - Atchafalaya River Lift Bridge


Union Pacific Railroad Lift and Swing Bridge

Photo taken by C Hanchey in August 2009


BH Photo #144402


Street View 


Originally opened to traffic on October 20, 1908.


Lift bridge over Atchafalaya River (Berwick Bay) on the BNSF/UP Railroads between Berwick and Morgan City
Morgan City, St. Mary Parish, Louisiana
Open to traffic
Built 1908
- Massman Construction Co. of Kansas City, Missouri (1969 Lift Span Contractor)
- Missouri Valley Bridge & Iron Co. of Leavenworth, Kansas (1908 Substructure)
- Phoenix Bridge Co. of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania (1908 Superstructure)
- BNSF Railway (BNSF)
- Morgan's Louisiana & Texas Railroad & Steamship Co. (ML&T)
- Southern Pacific Railroad (SP)
- Union Pacific Railroad (UP)
Combination swing bridge and vertical lift bridge.
Also called
BNSF/UP - Berwick Bay Lift Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+29.69240, -91.21272   (decimal degrees)
29°41'33" N, 91°12'46" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/672922/3286037 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Morgan City
Inventory number
BH 43119 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • March 22, 2020: Updated by Roger Collins: 1908 opening date.
  • December 17, 2019: Updated by Cliff Darby: Added category "Swing"
  • November 27, 2018: Updated by Luke: Added build dates & builders
  • November 26, 2018: New photo from Douglas Butler
  • February 24, 2018: New video from Cliff Darby
  • October 17, 2017: New photos from Jeff Dubea
  • December 21, 2016: New Street View added by Douglas Butler
  • December 10, 2015: New Street View added by Douglas Butler
  • March 18, 2015: Updated by Luke: Corrected railroad per forum comment.
  • August 28, 2013: New photos from Douglas Butler
  • September 12, 2012: New photo from Jared Mixson
  • May 3, 2010: New Street View added by Nathan Holth
  • August 6, 2009: Added by C Hanchey

Related Bridges 


  • C Hanchey - cmh2315fl [at] yahoo [dot] com
  • Nathan Holth
  • Jared
  • Jeff Dubea
  • Douglas Butler
  • Luke
  • Cliff Darby - cliffsta1987 [at] gmail [dot] com


BNSF - Atchafalaya River Lift Bridge
Posted December 17, 2019, by Cliff Darby (clif30 [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Always interesting to see bridges which are both "Swing" and "Vertical Lift"... there's one up in Arkansas that was changed due to the river channel shifting.

BNSF Atchafalaya River Lift Bridge
Posted November 19, 2015, by Donnie LeBoeuf (Zork70037 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

I've heard stories that a train plunged into the river off the old swing span and the the train engine was never found or retrieved due to it sinking in the mud on the bottom of the Atchafalya River. Is there any truth to this story??? I've never found anything on it...

BNSF Atchafalaya River Lift Bridge
Posted May 24, 2015, by Lee A. Gautreaux (railgoat [at] bellsouth [dot] net)

For further clarification, the westernmost through span which had previously served as the swing span prior to the installation of the center vertical lift span no longer functions as a draw span. The rails have been permanently welded together and the swing mechanism has been permanently disabled. All marine traffic that cannot travel under the bridge must use the center lift span.

Union Pacific Railroad Lift Bridge
Posted March 18, 2015, by brian andras (brianandras [at] msn [dot] com)

I worked for the southern Pacific,union Pacific and the present owner b.n.s.f.railway.U.P.only aquired this portion of the railroad for a short period and under government regulation spun it off to the bnsf.in the early 19th century it was a swing bridge with the opening being on the Berwick side of the river. It was later modernized to a lift bridge with the opening more to the middle of the river.I've operated bridges for 3 railroads since 1980. Enjoyed your pictures