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US 90 Calcasieu River Bridge


US 90 Calcasieu River Bridge


Photo taken by Douglas Butler in April 2013


BH Photo #288779

Street Views 


Construction began in June 1915 and cost about $132,000. F. H. Frankland, bridge engineer for the Louisiana Highway Commission, designed the bridge and supervised its construction. A $26,000 road embankment carried the highway through the cypress swamp north of the bridge.

The bridge was opened to traffic on September 15, 1916 and formally dedicated by the Interstate Inland Water League on October 27. It was part of the Old Spanish Trail through Lake Charles and became part of US 90 beginning in 1926.

When US 90 was relocated onto the current Calcasieu River bridge in 1951, the United States Corps of Engineers required the old bridge to be removed due to its poor condition and its obstruction to water navigation, having suffered many collisions from ships and barges over the years. Local citizens were unsuccessful in preventing its removal, and the Kansas City Bridge Co. dismantled the bridge in the winter of 1952-1953.


Lost bridge over Calcasieu River on US 90; northern approach still intact
Lake Charles, Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana
Removed but not replaced
Built 1916; Removed 1952
- Federal Bridge Co. of Waukesha, Wisconsin (Bascule Fabricator)
- Fruin-Conlon Contracting Co. of St. Louis, Missouri (Arch Contractor)
- Missouri Valley Bridge & Iron Co. of Leavenworth, Kansas (Bascule Erector + Arch Contractor)
- Strauss Bascule Bridge Co. of Chicago, Illinois (Bascule Design)
Total length of the structure was 1782'. The bridge proper was 817' long with a 103' wide channel opening flanked by three 96' arches on either side. The bascule span was an electrically operated 103' double-leaf trunnion requiring 80 seconds to open. The southern approach contained one 30' girder span, and the northern approach was 906' long, containing 29 30' girder spans.
Length of largest span: 103.0 ft.
Total length: 1,782.0 ft.
Deck width: 20.0 ft.
Approximate latitude, longitude
+30.21918, -93.25104   (decimal degrees)
30°13'09" N, 93°15'04" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/475841/3343099 (zone/easting/northing)
Inventory number
BH 55152 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • February 18, 2020: Updated by Roger Collins: Added design details and description text.
  • February 16, 2020: Updated by Roger Collins: Corrected GPS location.
  • December 14, 2019: New photo from Geoff Hubbs
  • December 23, 2016: New photos from Luke
  • September 30, 2016: Updated by Luke: Added builders
  • August 5, 2015: New photo from Luke
  • July 21, 2014: New photo from Douglas Butler
  • January 8, 2013: Added by Jared Mixson


  • Jared
  • Douglas Butler
  • US 90 Calcasieu River Bridge - Strauss bascule bridge constructed by the Strauss Bascule Bridge Company
  • Luke
  • Geoff Hubbs


US90 Calcasieu River Bridge
Posted December 23, 2016, by Keli Rylance (kelerin [at] gmail [dot] com)

& another from the same Employee's Bulletin. Bridge described as reinforced concrete connector of the Old Spanish Trail highway.

US90 Calcasieu River Bridge
Posted December 23, 2016, by Keli Rylance (kelerin [at] gmail [dot] com)

There is a very good description and photographic reproduction of the bridge's bascule section in the January 1917 issue of the Employees' Bulletin of Robert W. Hunt & Company, Engineers. [public domain].