No votes cast

Chain Bridge (1937)


Photo taken by Lorax

License: Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike (CC BY-SA)


View this photo at Wikimedia Commons

BH Photo #291646

Street Views 


Eighth bridge at this location, derives its name from the third bridge, a chain suspension bridge. First bridge built by Timothy Palmer for Georgetown Bridge Co., wooden covered bridge opened 1797, rotted and collapsed 1804. Rebuilt by Georgetown Bridge Co. in kind, washed away by flood after six months. Third bridge opened 1810, chain suspension span 136' long, 15' wide designed by Judge James E. Finley of Uniontown, PA, swept away by flood 1812; fourth span damaged 1815 by floods; fifth span built 1840 and also destroyed by flooding. Sixth bridge wooden covered span of seven spans, Howe truss with arches, uncovered during Civil War to prevent arson, washed out 1870. Army engineers built iron truss replacement 1874, weakened by 1936 flood and replaced with current girder bridge.


Haunched deck plate girder bridge over Potomac River and Chesapeake & Ohio Canal
Washington, District of Columbia, and Arlington County, Virginia
Open to traffic
Built 1937-38; rehabilitated 1983
- Modjeski, Masters & Chase of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania [also known as Modjeski & Masters]
- Tuller Construction Co. of Red Bank, New Jersey (Contractor)
Continuous steel girders with suspended spans
Length of largest span: 171.9 ft.
Total length: 1,351.2 ft.
Deck width: 35.1 ft.
Approximate latitude, longitude
+38.93000, -77.11500   (decimal degrees)
38°55'48" N, 77°06'54" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
18/316669/4311135 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Washington West
Average daily traffic (as of 2006)
Inventory numbers
DC 1 (District of Columbia bridge number)
BH 52948 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of February 2018)
Overall condition: Fair
Superstructure condition rating: Good (7 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Good (7 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 66 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • August 30, 2016: New photo from Alexander D. Mitchell IV
  • August 20, 2014: Updated by Luke: Added photograph
  • August 20, 2014: Updated by Alexander D. Mitchell IV: Entered info from DC Highways Department
  • March 1, 2013: Updated by Andy Peters: adds detail to overview and what the bridge crosses
  • July 17, 2012: Updated by Luke Harden: Removed city name from builder
  • July 17, 2012: Added by Alexander D. Mitchell IV

Related Bridges 


  • Luke
  • Alexander D. Mitchell IV
  • Andy Peters - anpete1971 [at] gmail [dot] com