Rating:
2 votes

Tallahatchie River Bridge

Photos 

Overview

Photo taken by Nathan Culpepper

BH Photo #107980

Map 

Facts 

Overview
Through truss bridge over Tallahatchie River on MS 6 / US 278 west of Batesville
Location
Panola County, Mississippi
Status
Open to two-lane traffic
Future prospects
Being replaced, likely doomed if not gone already.
History
Built 1940
Design
Riveted, skewed, 7-panel Pratt through truss
Dimensions
Length of largest span: 160.0 ft.
Total length: 599.9 ft.
Deck width: 23.9 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 15.0 ft.
Also called
Little Tallahatchie River Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+34.29624, -90.05438   (decimal degrees)
34°17'46" N, 90°03'16" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/771117/3798932 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Asa
Average daily traffic (as of 2016)
5,000
Inventory number
BH 22916 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of January 2018)
Overall condition: Poor
Superstructure condition rating: Poor (4 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Serious (3 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 6 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • October 18, 2017: Updated by Robert Elder: Added Little Tallahatchie River Bridge to Alternate Name Field.
  • October 17, 2017: New Street View added by David Backlin
  • October 17, 2017: Updated by Robert Elder: Edited Future Prospects.
  • July 3, 2006: Posted photos from Nathan Culpepper

Sources 

  • Nathan Culpepper - nathan [at] soundsgoodllc [dot] com
  • Robert Elder - robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com
  • David Backlin - us71 [at] cox [dot] net

Comments 

Tallahatchie River Bridge
Posted October 19, 2017, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Well, I am glad that the webmaster has weighed in. I will accept his decision whatever it turns out to be.

James, it is funny that you should mention the Whitewater river in Missouri. We had a very similar thing happened with the Whitewater River in Kansas. It has been known as both the Whitewater Creek and Whitewater River but the official name is now Whitewater River. To make matters more complicated there are various branches known as Whitewater Creek which join the main branches of the Whitewater River.

Tallahatchie River Bridge
Posted October 18, 2017, by James Baughn (webmaster [at] bridgehunter [dot] com)

This is a Pandora's Box for sure.

In 1972 the U.S. Board on Geographic Names decided that this is the Little Tallahatchie River. Their documentation can be found on the USGS website here:

https://geonames.usgs.gov/pls/gnispublic/

Perform a search for "Tallahatchie" in Mississippi, drill down to the entry for Little Tallahatchie River, and then look for the "BGN Subject Folders" section. (It's not possible to link to the specific page due to the screwy design of their website.)

On the other hand, it's hard to argue against local usage. The fact that the road signs say "Tallahatchie River" at this bridge is very compelling. Likewise, the National Bridge Inventory, based on records provided by MDOT, seems to prefer Tallahatchie River for the entire river below Sardis Lake.

The BGN Principles, Policies, and Procedures manual states: "The underlying principle of the BGN for establishing official geographic names and their applications is recognition of present-day local usage or preferences."

https://geonames.usgs.gov/docs/DNC_PPP_DEC_2016_V.1.0.pdf

However, the BGN has had a long history of not always following that principle. Instead of standardizing names, they've sowed confusion by adopting positions that are clearly the opposite of local usage.

Consider, for example, the Pittsburg(h) fiasco:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Name_of_Pittsburgh

I'm particularly peeved about one of their decisions several years ago in Southeast Missouri to demote Whitewater River to "Upper Whitewater Creek" despite zero evidence that the stream has ever been called a "creek" throughout 200+ years of history.

Luckily for us we're under no obligation to follow every BGN decision. And how!

To complicate matters, this particular bridge sits at the transition point between the original river channel and the modern Panola Quitman Floodway, a man-made diversion channel labeled as such by the DeLorme atlas.

And then there's Google Maps, which consistently labels the entire river system as "Little Tallahatchie River" -- even those portions that most everyone, including the BGN, consider to be the main Tallahatchie River.

So, in a nutshell, it's complicated.

Tallahatchie River Bridge
Posted October 18, 2017, by Clark Vance (cvance [at] dogmail [dot] com)

Dummyline Road running through Asa follows the alignment of the Yazoo & Mississippi Valley Railroad according to the 1932 Sledge, MS quadrangle.

Tallahatchie River Bridge
Posted October 18, 2017, by Clark Vance (cvance [at] dogmail [dot] com)

Dummy line was a term for some steam streetcars and interurbans.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steam_dummy

And the old song:

https://blog.jimgrey.net/2008/12/12/on-the-dummy-line/

Tallahatchie River Bridge
Posted October 18, 2017, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

I noticed that too. I have not found anything definitive, but these are a couple of interesting links:

https://www.kididdles.com/lyrics/d032.html

https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=29196

Tallahatchie River Bridge
Posted October 18, 2017, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

I'd like to know the story behind the naming of the nearby Dummyline Road!

Tallahatchie River Bridge
Posted October 18, 2017, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

According to Encyclopaedia Britanica, the river is also known as the Little Tallahatchie. Thus, I can see where there might be some confusion here.

As Luke pointed out, the variety of online maps do not agree on the name. That being said, we do want to have all information on here to be factual. If a few maps have the wrong river we still want to have the right river, or at least the most commonly accepted name. Bridgehunter has a special field for alternate name, and I think that we should use that special field for its intended purpose.

Based on my field visit, Tallahatchie seems to be the most common name. I crossed the river at two different locations, and at both crossings the name Tallahatchie was used. I have added a Google Streetview showing the sign with the river name as Tallahatchie. In addition, I have read several news reports about this bridge, and another one over the same river. All of these news reports use the name Tallahatchie instead of Little Tallahatchie.

For now, I have changed this listing back to its original name. Either way, I think that the Webmaster should make the call here - perhaps in consultation with our Mississippi Contributors. Those of us who are not from the area should defer to the locals and to the Webmaster on this one.

Little Tallahatchie River Bridge
Posted October 17, 2017, by Luke

FWIW s topo map from 1965 also call this the Little Tallahatchie River, though those also spell streams wrong from time to time.

See: Worle Creek in Ames, Iowa.

Later topo maps and Google both misspell it as Worrell, when city documents/locals/older topos all use Worle.

Little Tallahatchie River Bridge
Posted October 17, 2017, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

I should mention that Google Maps seems to have erroneously labeled this river as the Little Tallahatchie. It is really the Tallahatchie. The Little Tallahatchie is to the West.

Tallahatchie River Bridge
Posted October 17, 2017, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Reading through news articles, I am seeing conflicting reports of repair vs replace. We might have to punt this one to the Mississippi contributors on here.

Tallahatchie River Bridge
Posted October 17, 2017, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

I drove over this bridge in November of 2014. There was no sign of construction here at all.

But...according to the June 2016 Google Streetview, trees are being cleared at both ends of the bridge. This one is being replaced. I don't know if it will be retained or demolished.

Tallahatchie River Bridge
Posted September 28, 2010, by Anonymous

Ed, see the page for the Tallahatchie Bridge near money, MS in Leflore County, and my comments and photos (including a recent photo of the current bridge): http://bridgehunter.com/ms/leflore/bh37512/

Michael Watson, Toronto

Tallahatchie River Bridge
Posted August 27, 2010, by Ed Hollowell (erhollowell [at] aol [dot] com)

I looked it up and Billy Joe McAllister was supposed to have jumped off the Tallahatchie bridge in Money, MS. I don't see that one lisited on Bridgehunter. Oh well.

Tallahatchie River Bridge
Posted November 22, 2009, by Anthony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

It's a shame they didn't make an effort to save this historic, iconic span.

Tallahatchie River Bridge
Posted November 22, 2009, by Travis Nokes (bravheart55 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

Sorry,David is correct....It is(OR WAS)located in Leflore County...My mistake.Travis Nokes

Tallahatchie River Bridge
Posted November 21, 2009, by David Smothers (davidsmothers [at] msn [dot] com)

It's not in Tallhatchie county, it's in Leflore County. Bobby Gentry wrote the song, and there are pictures of her standing on it in the Leflore county listings.

Tallahatchie River Bridge
Posted November 21, 2009, by Travis Nokes (bravheart55 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

Go to Tallahatchie Bridge in Tallahatchie County ,Ms for the "Ode to Billie Joe" bridge story... Travis Nokes

Tallahatchie River Bridge
Posted May 22, 2009, by Gene McCluney (mccluney [at] sbcglobal [dot] net)

Ode To Billy Joe was a song. A fictional song.

Tallahatchie River Bridge
Posted May 21, 2009, by Virginia (hannahbelt [at] gmail [dot] com)

Okay, Friend, this will probably annoy you, but is this the bridge that Billie Joe jumped off?