2 votes

Jordan Bridge


Jordan Bridge

East Approach

Photo taken by C Hanchey in December 2008


BH Photo #134223

Street View 

Brief History 

From the City of Chesapeake "Decommissioning the Jordan Bridge" brochure

Originally known as the Norfolk-Portsmouth Bridge, the bridge was completed at a cost of $1.25 million, and opened on August 24, 1928 as a toll bridge.

It is a Waddell & Harrington vertical lift drawbridge and was designed by Harrington, Howard, & Ash of Kansas City, Missouri. The construction was planned and financing organized by Carl M. Jordan, who operated Jordan Brothers Lumber Co. with his brother Wallace. The bridge was renamed for Carl Jordan many years later. He also served as general manager and executive vice president of the South Norfolk Bridge Commission, Inc. Ownership of the bridge was transferred to the City of Chesapeake after the Bridge Commission's indebtedness was satisfied in 1977.

In 2008, approximately 7,000 vehicles used the bridge daily. More than 10,000 lifts a year occurred for over 21,500 marine traffic vessels. In March 2008 an inspection was conducted and report findings indicated the need for repairs would total more than $4 million. The bridge was closed to traffic on November 8, 2008. When the bridge was closed, it had a posted weight limit of only 3 tons.


Lost vertical lift bridge over South Branch Elizabeth River on VA 337 in Portsmouth
Chesapeake, Virginia, and Portsmouth, Virginia
Replaced by the South Norfolk-Jordan Bridge
Built 1928 by the Atlantic Bridge Co.; Closed 2008; Removed 2010
- Atlantic Bridge Co. of Charlotte, North Carolina & Roanoke, Virginia
- Harrington, Howard & Ash of Kansas City, Kansas & New York, New York (Designer)
- Waddell & Harrington of Kansas City, Missouri
Vertical lift main span with Warren truss approach spans
Length of largest span: 284.1 ft.
Total length: 2,050.0 ft. (0.4 mi.)
Deck width: 20.0 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 9.0 ft.
Eligible for the National Register of Historic Places
Also called
Norfolk-Portsmouth Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+36.80857, -76.29108   (decimal degrees)
36°48'31" N, 76°17'28" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
18/384914/4074385 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Norfolk South
Inventory numbers
VA 21931 (Virginia bridge number)
BH 33648 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • July 30, 2019: New photos from Douglas Butler
  • February 7, 2015: Photo imported by Dave King
  • October 5, 2014: New photos from Douglas Butler
  • October 2, 2012: New photo from Jann Mayer
  • July 13, 2012: Updated by Luke Harden: Added designer
  • April 24, 2011: Updated by C Hanchey: Bridge was removed in 2010
  • February 25, 2009: Essay added by C Hanchey


  • C Hanchey - cmh2315fl [at] yahoo [dot] com
  • Luke
  • Jann Mayer - jannmayer [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Douglas Butler


Jordan Bridge
Posted July 29, 2019, by Stephen Peifer (sfpeifer [at] gmail [dot] com)

Photo of damaged bridge during repair by Virginia Bridge Company in 1939. Photo by F. J. Peifer, field engineer.

Jordan Bridge
Posted July 29, 2019, by Stephen Peifer (sfpeifer [at] gmail [dot] com)

Photo made during bridge repair in 1939 by Virginia Bridge Company. Photo by F.J. Peifer, field engineer (my father).

Jordan Bridge over South Branch Elizabeth River
Posted July 6, 2009, by bozeman (g [dot] bozeman [at] att [dot] net)

Nice work, I'm from this area.

But, the bridge in the first picture with the aircraft carrier visable on the far side is not the Jordan bridge. It is actually the Belt Line Railroad bridge located just north of the Jordan. The picture appears to have been taken from the Jordan Bridge's east side. The two bridges appear similar but the Railroad bridge has flat topped fixed sections while the Jordan's are slightly arched.

Jordan Bridge over South Branch Elizabeth River
Posted May 12, 2009, by B Hoy (bhoyodlha(at)msn(dot)com)

Demolition work has begun on this bridge, the lift span has now been removed.