I am amazed that this bridge has held up so well with a real lack of maintainance from the railroad.In my 57 years, I do not recall it ever being painted. G
I have seen the deck width quoted as being 30 feet in sseveral places. I believe this to be incorrect. I think the 30 feet may be the truss centers, but that seems a little small for a 790 ft span. I wrote a paper on this brige while in college. At the time I went to the bridge and measured the width between railings. (This was 1967. Things were different then.) If my memory is at all correct, the distance between railings, which to me defines the deck width, was 23 feet.
The deck was originally timbered even with the top of rail to allow wagon traffic between trains. This was presumably removed after the adjacent Harahan Bridge was opened.
Regarding climbing the bridge. Operating Railroad bridges have always been private property, not built with public funds, and have always had "No Trespassing" signs. If you climb onto the bridge you are trespassing. Probably it is just the heightened security post 9/11 that results in you being arrested, though.
However you should be aware that you ARE trespassing on private railroad land and property.
My great-great grandfather, S. Robison supposedly was one of the engineers for this bridge and died after the celebration of the finishing of it - falling from the bridge and dying later at home from the injuries. I am seaching for more information about his death and who he worked for. email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any info.
Before 9-11, we could climb the support collum on the West side. After that, we get arrested for tresspassing. Does anyone know how we might get permission to climb again?
Sam Teel 901-921-4334