Location Information
(for the Bayou Pierre Bridge #920 Bridge #19.2)
Name:Bayou Pierre Bridge (#920) (Bridge #19.2)
Address:Highway 18 near Carpenter
Spanning Bayou Pierre at State Route (SR) 18.
City/County:Utica vic., Copiah County
Architectural Information
Construction Date:1940
Registration Information
NR Listing Date:10 Jun 2005
MPS:Historic Bridges of Mississippi
View National Register Nomination Form
Context/Comments
The Bayou Pierre Bridge 19.2, built circa 1900-1925, is locally significant under Criterion C of the NRHP in the area of Engineering, because it is one of the most intact surviving examples in Mississippi of a two-lane Pratt through truss bridge. One-lane bridges of this type were commonly built on rural roads throughout Mississippi from around 1900 through the 1930s, but two-lane bridges were less common, and surviving examples of the Pratt through truss are now becoming very rare.

A comprehensive survey of all known truss bridges in the state of Mississippi pre-dating 1953, conducted in 1986, revealed 35 surviving examples of the Pratt through truss type, the oldest being the Tibbee Creek Bridge in Clay County, built in 1896. By the time these bridges were resurveyed in 2002, 11 had been demolished, and another six had been abandoned. The continued survival of many others is problematic.

The Bayou Pierre Bridge is an intact surviving example of this increasingly rare type of bridge, and it is one of the best examples of the few surviving through truss vehicular bridges in Copiah County. The Bayou Pierre Bridge was listed on the NRHP in 20051 as part of the “Historic Bridges of Mississippi” NRHP Multiple Property Nomination
Form.(2)

Brief Description
The Bayou Pierre Bridge 19.2 is a two-lane, single-span Pratt throughtruss bridge of steel construction, 180 feet in length and 24 feet in width, with a deck surfaced with asphalt paving. It is approached at both the west and east ends by elevated roadways with asphalt paving. The top chords of the structural truss consist of two channels and one plate connected underneath by small rectangular plates. The posts consist of four angles and a plate that combined form an I-beam. The bottom chords consist of two rectilinear eye-bars. The diagonal members consist of two rectilinear eye-bars, and the counters consist of single rectilinear eye-bars. The metal truss span is supported beneath by poured concrete piers.(3)
Historic Information
The nineteenth and twentieth centuries saw bridge construction developed from a field dominated by craftsmen to one dominated by engineers. This change was accompanied by the introduction of new materials and mass production and by the birth of scientific stress analysis. Truss bridges symbolize the birth of this new science.

The truss bridges represent a variety of types that were common in the late
nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The oldest dates to 1895 and most date to the early twentieth century, a time period during which bridges were made according to standardized models developed by bridge manufacturing companies. These models were designed to fill various needs incurred in bridging streams of greatly varying sizes and were usually sold to local governments by traveling representatives of thebridge companies.

Truss bridges are products of the evolution of metal truss engineering that began in New England during the early nineteenth century. Experimentation with bridge design progressed during the century resulting in a variety of designs that became standardized. These standardized designs were relatively inexpensive, easily erected, and structurally reliable forms for spanning streams that could previously only be crossed by fording, by ferry, or by wooden bridges.(4) According of Mississippi State Highway Department Bridge Inventory records from 1952, the Bayou Pierre Bridge was built on SR 18 in 1940.

Information gathered for the 1986 Mississippi Bridge Survey and Inventory conducted by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History indicate that the bridge was originally built in the 1920s as a railroad bridge that spanned West Capitol Street in Jackson, MS. The bridge was acquired by the Mississippi State Highway Department circa 1938 and dismantled. The bridge was re-erected in 1940 on SR 18 over Bayou Pierre.(5) A Mississippi State Highway Department newspaper notice in the Clarion Ledger, Jackson Mississippi, dated July 10, 1940, announced the planned construction of the truss bridge. It called for sealed bids for “the erection of a salvaged 180-foot railroad-type, pin-connected steel truss on piers that have already been constructed at the point on Mississippi Highway No. 18 between Utica and Port Gibson where said highway crosses Bayou Pierre”.(6) The bids were to include the erection of approximately 100 tons of old steel and the erection of approximately 47 tons of fabricated new steel.(7)

The 1940 Mississippi State Highway Department assembly plans for the bridge indicate the truss section was repurposed, although the plan notes do not indicate the origin of the truss section. The plans indicate the old trusses were used but complete new top and bottom lateral systems were required as well as a new floor system, new stringers, new portals, and new cross bracing. In addition, the east and west steel I-beam approaches to the truss bridge were new construction and date to 1940.(8)

A review of historic USGS topographic maps indicates that a rail yard was located near West Capitol Street in Jackson, Mississippi through most of the twentieth century. As early as 1908, a railroad bridge passed over West Capitol Street and carried multiple tracks. The main line carried by the bridge was the Illinois Central Railroad. The structure that was dismantled circa 1938 and repurposed on SR 18 was likely an Illinois Central Railroad bridge.

Sources:

1 “Bayou Pierre Bridge” National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form. Prepared by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History
(Elliot 2005).
2“Historic Bridge of Mississippi” National Register of Historic Places Multiple Property Nomination Form. Prepared by Mississippi Department
of Archives and History (Elliot 1986).
3 “Bayou Pierre Bridge” National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form. Prepared by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History
(Elliot 2005).
4“Historic Bridge of Mississippi” National Register of Historic Places Multiple Property Nomination Form. Prepared by Mississippi Department
of Archives and History (Elliot 1986).5 Mississippi Bridge Survey and Inventory (Mississippi Department of Archive and History 1986).
6“NOTICE TO CONTRACTORS AND STEEL DEALERS” (Clarion Ledger 1940).
7 Ibid.
8 Mississippi State Highway Department, Bridge over Bayou Pierre Assembly Plan (1940).