Rating:
1 vote

I-10 East Pearl River Bridge

Map 

Street View 

Facts 

Overview
Girder bridge over East Pearl River on I-10
Location
St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana
Status
Open to traffic
History
Built 1970
Design
Girder
Dimensions
Length of largest span: 165.0 ft.
Total length: 4,987.1 ft. (0.9 mi.)
Deck width: 28.9 ft.
Approximate latitude, longitude
+30.30346, -89.64146   (decimal degrees)
30°18'12" N, 89°38'29" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
16/245971/3355368 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Haaswood
Inventory number
BH 54007 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection (as of 09/2015)
Deck condition rating: Good (7 out of 9)
Superstructure condition rating: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 61.4 (out of 100)
Average daily traffic (as of 2015)
45,800

Update Log 

  • November 5, 2017: New Street View added by Dana and Kay Klein
  • May 14, 2015: Updated by Luke: Noted that the bridge had a removable span.
  • October 19, 2012: Added by Jared Mixson

Sources 

Comments 

I-10 East Pearl River Bridge
Posted April 9, 2016, by Pm (christiandrumr80 [at] aol [dot] com)

That is amazing history to know. Thanks for Sharing! Even though I worked out at Stennis for a period of time, I never knew about the NOVA rocket, nor the original purpose of the NOVA rocket being the driving specs for the i-10 bridge being built so tall, with a steel grate. This bridge still intrigues me to this day. I would love to see more history / pictures / schematics of it; if such a thing is around. My interest in it started (One day when I was 8/9ish) when we were in a traffic jam going from Louisiana to MS (late 80's). We were going along at a snail's pace (stop and go) because of an accident. Spending a few minutes stopped on that grate, it was the time I realized just how far up we were and why they heck put a draw bridge grate up this high - while looking down to the Pearl river below. In my mind (as a child) it wasn't like the hwy 90 Bay St. Louis, MS draw bridge and made no cognitive sense why there would be a draw bridge. No gates, no control house and no obvious way to open it made it more of a mystery and more of a reason I wanted to know more about it and bridges in general.

I-10 East Pearl River Bridge
Posted May 14, 2015, by Eric Berger (eric [dot] berger [at] chron [dot] com)

So the answer to this is pretty interesting and I only stumbled across it after speaking with Humboldt Mandell, who worked on the original Mars planning group at NASA in the early 1960s. When this bridge was being built they needed to transport rockets from Stennis to Michoud, and the rocket they envisioned using for Mars was called the "Nova" rocket. This was envisioned to be a good deal wider than the Saturn V and thus the high clearance needed for this particular bridge.

I-10 East Pearl River Bridge
Posted October 16, 2014, by Mike (michaelcaswell [at] icloud [dot] com)

Regarding the drawbridge mystery, I've often wondered about this myself. Even now, though the grating has been removed, you can still see what appears to be "hinges" in the road deck at the top of the bridge.

Additionally (and this would answer your question about the lack of a control room), once when we went boating on the Pearl River, I observed a door at the base of the eastern main vertical structure of the middle span.

I recently did a little more digging, and found an article that mentioned that a drawbridge was built here because of the need to transport Apollo rockets for testing at the facility a bit upriver from the chosen I-10 route.

http://history.nasa.gov/SP-4310/ch5.htm

This is still a bit of a mystery, as all the photos I've seen of Apollo stages being transported by water have them laying down on the barge (not standing upright), and with a vertical clearance of about 72ft., I would think that the 33ft. diameter first stage of the Saturn V would have no trouble passing underneath without opening.

The only thing I can think of is perhaps when the bridge was built, they didn't know whether or not the rocket stages would be transported horizontally or vertically, so they spec'd a drawbridge just in case.

Also, my assumption is that if the bridge needed to be opened, a crew member from the tugboat could enter structure at water level from the previously mentioned door, and operate the bridge from there. This makes sense, as there would likely be very little need for the bridge to ever open, so rather than have the control room up at road deck level, they instead made it accessible to the boat crew.

East Pearl River Bridge
Posted July 16, 2014, by pm (christiandrumr80 [at] aol [dot] com)

This bridge once contained a steel drawbridge grate at the top of the bridge. There were no gates and no control control room. I never actually saw the bridge operate. I am kind of curious about that part of the history and why such a tall bridge was created with a grate. Also, if they were going to use it, how would they control it? It was removed in the early 90's if memory serves me right.