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Benjamin Harrison Memorial Bridge


Photo taken by the wikipedia user

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

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BH Photo #235108

Street View 


Vertical lift bridge over James River on VA 156
Prince George County, Virginia, and Charles City County, Virginia
Open to traffic
Built 1967
- Hardesty & Hanover of New York, New York
Vertical lift
Length of largest span: 363.9 ft.
Total length: 4,463.1 ft. (0.8 mi.)
Deck width: 25.9 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 16.0 ft.
Approximate latitude, longitude
+37.31855, -77.22376   (decimal degrees)
37°19'07" N, 77°13'26" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
18/302953/4132530 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Average daily traffic (as of 2014)
Inventory numbers
VA 14069 (Virginia bridge number)
BH 33803 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of July 2017)
Overall condition: Fair
Superstructure condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 45.8 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • December 28, 2020: New photo from Roger Deschner
  • March 31, 2020: New photo from Geoff Hubbs
  • November 1, 2017: New photos from Royce and Bobette Haley
  • May 3, 2016: New Street View added by Douglas Butler
  • December 3, 2015: New Street View added by Douglas Butler
  • February 6, 2015: Photo imported by Dave King
  • July 13, 2012: Updated by Luke Harden: Added name and builder
  • May 4, 2010: New Street View added by Nathan Holth


  • Nathan Holth
  • Luke
  • Wikipedia
  • Royce and Bobette Haley - roycehaley111 [at] yahoo [dot] com
  • Douglas Butler
  • Geoff Hubbs
  • Roger Deschner - rogerdeschner [at] gmail [dot] com


Benjamin Harrison Memorial Bridge
Posted August 5, 2022, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)


Benjamin Harrison Memorial Bridge
Posted August 5, 2022, by Brandon Cooper

Photos 23-31 are broken.

Benjamin Harrison Memorial Bridge
Posted December 28, 2020, by Roger Deschner (rogerdeschner [at] gmail [dot] com)

Notable for a bridge this new (built 1966, rebuilt 1978), is the extensive use of built-up lattice members. Built-up members using V-lacing or lattice, are rarely seen this recently, except for historical purposes. After about 1950, it became less expensive to use a single piece of flat, rolled steel, with oval cut-out holes. I wonder if this older, more costly construction method was used to reduce the weight of the lift span. Royce and Bobette Haley's excellent photos here show the latticework very well.

My observation regarding Nathan Holth's comment about a mixture of bolted and riveted connections after the 1977 accident, is that many steel bridges of the 1960s era were originally built with a combination of riveted and bolted connections. (See 1967 La Grange Road Bridge near Chicago at https://historicbridges.org/bridges/browser/?bridgebrowser=i... for more about this transition era.)

To get a vantage point to photograph this bridge, I went to the marina to its southeast. After buying a soda and securing permission to walk out on their dock, the marina store clerk said that this bridge was "quite a pain" because it frequently became stuck in the raised position. As in the 1977 accident, a long detour is required, on either the Jamestown-Scotland Ferry to the east, or I-295 to the west.

Benjamin Harrison Memorial Bridge
Posted April 2, 2018, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

Most of this truss bridge collapsed in an accident Feb 24, 1977 which may explain why many members are bolted since I assume most of the truss is a replica. http://www.dailypress.com/features/history/dp-look-back-acci...

This is one of the more spectacular vertical lift accidents I have ever seen. The freightor crashed into the approach truss, which rested on on the freighter for a time (it was dislocated off the pier onto the ship) before the tower finally collapsed, which in turn dragged the lift span into the water. The other tower survived however.

Benjamin Harrison Memorial Bridge
Posted April 2, 2018, by ........b24

predecessor to this........

Benjamin Harrison Memorial Bridge
Posted May 24, 2016, by Mary Dugie (Mary [dot] dugie [at] yahoo [dot] com)

Completed Dec. 2015: Replace the bridge's original auxiliary drive, install LED lights and make preventive maintenance repairs to the bridge’s superstructure; including deck patching and beam repairs.


James River Bridge
Posted August 26, 2009, by Kevin Webb (kwebb1979 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

It's called the Benjamin Harrison Memorial Bridge. I cross it on a regular basis.