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Tensaw Spanish River Bridge


Aerial View Of Tensaw River Bridge In Local Context, Facing East, Photograph Taken From Roof Of First Bank Of Mobile Building

Photo taken by Daniel R. Pratt for the Historic American Engineering Record

View photos at Library of Congress

BH Photo #233638


The Tensaw River Lift Bridge is one of the oldest remaining lift bridges in Alabama. It is important in local history as an integral component of the "Cochrane Bridge", a 10.5 mile-long causeway connecting Mobile and Baldwin counties over Mobile Bay. The construction of the causeway helped complete the "Spanish Trail", a transcontinental highway designed to increase tourism and commerce on the Gulf of Mexico coast and westward. It is the work of Harrington, Howard & Ash Consulting Engineers of Kansas City, Missouri, one of the most important early 20th century bridge designers in the United States. The bridge is not currently listed on the National Register of Historic Places

-- Historic American Engineering Record


Lost Parker through truss bridge over Tensaw Spanish River on US Hwy. 90 *
Mobile, Mobile County, Alabama
Replaced by a new bridge
Built 1927, demolished and replaced in 1995
- Harrington, Howard & Ash of Kansas City, Kansas & New York, New York (Engineer)
- Kansas City Bridge Co. of Kansas City, Missouri (Erector)
- Virginia Bridge & Iron Co. of Roanoke, Virginia (Fabricator) [also known as Virginia Bridge Co.]
Parker through truss (5 spans) with stringer approaches
Length of largest span: 202.1 ft.
Total length: 1,402.0 ft.
Deck width: 19.7 ft.
Approximate latitude, longitude
+30.68333, -88.01000   (decimal degrees)
30°40'60" N, 88°00'36" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
16/403259/3394943 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Inventory number
BH 52696 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • August 30, 2022: New photos from Paul Plassman
  • June 22, 2012: Added by Jason Smith


  • Jason Smith - flensburg [dot] bridgehunter [dot] av [at] googlemail [dot] com
  • HAER AL-104 - Tensaw River Lift Bridge, Spanning Tensaw River at U.S. Highway 90, Mobile, Mobile County, AL
  • Paul Plassman


Tensaw Spanish River Bridge
Posted February 26, 2014, by Larry Cody (Lcody [at] mindspring [dot] com)

My father operated the Site Service Station just east of the Tensaw River span. During the 1960s, the five segment truss bridge was a single span with one lane in each direction. During these years, the center span was a lift section, with crossbars and signal lights for stopping traffic during lifting operations similar to the Cochran Bridge. My recollection is that when the concrete westbound span was built in the 1970s, the original center truss lift segment was decommissioned and the bridge master's house removed. From that point on, the eastbound spans became a five segment truss without center lift capability.

Tensaw Spanish River Bridge
Posted March 14, 2013, by Anonymous (hemeloser [at] yahoo [dot] com)

The route of the causeway is the same now as it was when contructed. It involves four separate open space water crossings, two of which are on either side of Blakeley Island.

The photo here is the bridge over the westernmost outlet of the Tensaw which merges with the Spanish River from the Mobile River. All of the spans are fixed.

To my knowledge, the only crossing with a lift span was over the Mobile River proper.

The spans over the easternmost two outlets of the Tensaw near

Spanish Fort are not shown, suggesting that they were not Parker through truss.