3 votes

'S' Bridge


Photo taken by Irma Hale in July 2011


BH Photo #205509

Street View 


Hertford, NC Aerial (Including "S" Bridge)

2015 drone video by "Gallaway400"

YouTube user "Gallaway400"

Play video on YouTube


Main swing span removed July 13, 2021, for replacement and potential preservation on land:


The picturesque but weakening swing span of the historic Hertford ‘S-Bridge’ was removed Monday from the spot on the Perquimans River where it welcomed both vehicle and maritime traffic since 1928.

Contractors for the N.C. Department of Transportation carefully loaded the truss onto two barges which will temporarily house it near Missing Mill Park, awaiting the results of local preservation efforts to put the structure on permanent display.

The removal is part of a $57 million project to replace the aging Hertford S-Bridge, which connected the towns of Hertford and Winfall along with U.S. 17 Business. The new bridge, which will also replace the causeway that was settling unevenly, is expected to open to traffic by April 30, 2022.

Brief history 

Reposted from NCDOT

"The main span of this 20-span, 640-foot-long bridge is a swing-span, riveted Warren through truss. This span utilizes the most common design for swing-span structures. It is center-bearing with a pivot set on a pier in the river channel. The center-bearing design was lighter and more easily operated and maintained than the alternative rim-bearing design. The swing span retains its original built-up sections of channels, angles, and plates. According to plans, an operator's house originally sat atop the center of the truss. That house was removed and replaced by a flat-roofed operator's house at the southeast corner about 1965. (The state made a similar alteration to Pender County Bridge 19). The portal bracing has also been altered to increase vertical clearance. These changes, however, did not alter the bridge's basic operation. It is still engaged by an electric motor and direct-drive, rack-and-pinion system set atop a concrete pivot pier protected by timber pile fenders.

The single swing span is joined by 19 tee beam approach spans that carry state-standard concrete decks and balustrades. They are built on a skew to accommodate an S-shaped curve in the roadway required by the surrounding watery terrain. The bridge is therefore not only known as the Hertford Bridge (the name on its plaque) but, at least locally, as the "S-Shaped Bridge." In addition to being a local landmark and a contributing part of the Hertford Historic District, the bridge is significant in its own right as a rare, early, intact swing-span structure in North Carolina.

The site of the bridge has a history probably not matched by any other in the state. Its original predecessor, on the same location, was a float bridge erected in 1798 for the then-substantial sum of 1,200 pounds. A report dating from May of that year proudly stated that the: "Bridge hath been lately compleated in a very Strong & workmanlike manner, with a toll Gate thereon fitten for the easy & comfortable conveyance of travellers & passengers equal if not superior to any thing of the kind on the Continent-..." It described the structure as "about 20 feet wide all railed in with a tear of Pine-heart Logs, nearly edge & edge apart covered with 3 inch pine plank strongly...framed & put together-..." The float bridge stood until 1863, when Union forces destroyed it to hinder Confederate troop movements. A ferry then served the crossing until the construction of a new float bridge in 1868. This bridge was swept away by a storm in 1897 and replaced by "a good Strong & efficient Steel and wood Bridge..." That bridge was in turn replaced, on the same location, by the current steel and concrete structure,"-NCDOT


Swing bridge over Perquimans River on Business US 17 in Hertford
Hertford, Perquimans County, North Carolina
In storage or disassembled
Built 1929
Swing Warren through truss
Length of largest span: 161.1 ft.
Total length: 640.1 ft.
Deck width: 20.0 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 15.0 ft.
Also called
Hertford Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+36.19389, -76.46611   (decimal degrees)
36°11'38" N, 76°27'58" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
18/368182/4006449 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Average daily traffic (as of 2012)
Inventory numbers
NC 1430008 (North Carolina bridge number)
BH 23305 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of December 2017)
Overall condition: Poor
Superstructure condition rating: Poor (4 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Poor (4 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Poor (4 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 3 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • January 2, 2022: New photo from Geoff Hubbs
  • July 27, 2021: Updated by Nathan Holth: Bridge has been removed, may be reused as a decorative display somewhere.
  • July 13, 2021: New video from Alexander D. Mitchell IV
  • July 22, 2016: New photos from Royce and Bobette Haley
  • August 11, 2015: Updated by Royce and Bobette Haley: added AKA
  • July 25, 2011: New photos from Irma Hale
  • March 12, 2010: Updated by Matthew Ridpath: Added Street View and main span design information.



'S' Bridge
Posted July 27, 2021, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)


This article states that the bridge has been removed, but a possible glimmer of good news is that "There are local preservation efforts underway to put the structure on permanent display." So I assume it is being stored intact somewhere.

'S' Bridge
Posted June 8, 2010, by George (gws1968 [at] live [dot] com)

They are wanting to tear this bridge down. If you know anything about this area you know it has great significance to the town of Hertford. Please sign the petition to try and save this historic bridge. I'll also post a link to a local paper that gives more detail on what they are planning to do. If they succeed in tearing down the bridge they will also succeed in strangling the last bit of life left in the town of Hertford.


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