Current Weather Conditions
John A. Weeks III
Wednesday, February 28, 2024, 3:45:20 AM CST
Home Photo Tours Rail Fan 12 Easy Steps
Aviation Spacecraft Highways & Bridges About The Author
Google Search
Maps   Groups   Images   Search
  • 12 Easy Steps
  • Aviation
  • Spacecraft
  • Highways & Bridges
    » Bridge Photography
      - MSP River Bridges
      - C & D Canal
      - Illinois River
      - Minnehaha Creek
      - Minnesota River
      - Mississippi River
        › Lake Itasca Area
        › Bemidji Area
        › Cass Lake - Ball Club
        › Grand Rapids Area
        › Blackberry - Crosby
        › Brainerd Lakes Area
        › Little Falls Area
        › St. Cloud Area
        › North Metro Area
        › Port Of Minneapolis
        › St. Anthony Falls Area
        › Mississippi Rvr Gorge
        › St. Paul Area
        › S St. Paul - Hastings
        › Red Wing - Winona
        › La Crosse Area
        › Lansing - Clinton
        › Quad Cities Area
        › Muscatine - Louisiana
        › St. Louis Area
        › Chester - Cairo
        › Miss - Tenn - Ark
        › Ark - Miss - Louisiana
        › Louisiana Structures
          · Morganza Floodway
          · John James Audubon
          · Huey P Long (BR)
          · Horace Wilkinson Br
          · Sunshine Bridge
          · Veterans Memorial
          · Bonnet Carre Spwy
          · Hale Boggs Memorial
          · Huey P Long (NO)
          · Crescent City Conn
      - Missouri River
      - St. Croix River
      - St. Louis River
      - Wisconsin River
      - Best Miss River Photos
      - Cable Stayed Bridges
      - McGilvray Road Bridges
      - I-35W Bridge Disaster
      - Miscellaneous Bridges
      - Madison County Bridges
      - Hist Br Weekend 2013
    » Road Geek Topics
  • Photo Tours
  • Rail Fan
  • About The Author
Site Search By JRank
Highways, Byways, And Bridge Photography
Horace Wilkinson Bridge
I-10 Mississippi River Crossing At Baton Rouge
Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Horace Wilkinson Bridge

• Structure ID: NBI: 611704500900001.
• Location: River Mile 229.3.
• River Elevation: 10 Feet.
• Highway: I-10.
• Daily Traffic Count: 89,100 (2003).
• Bridge Type: Continuous Steel Truss Through Deck.
• Length: 14,150 Feet Overall, 1,235 Foot Longest Span.
• Width: 80 Feet 6 Lanes.
• Navigation Channel Width: 500 Foot Clear Channel.
• Height Above Water: 175 Feet.
• Date Built: Opened April 10, 1968.
Louisiana is the land of massive continuous steel truss bridges. The local geography where the land is very close to sea level combined with ocean going ships traveling the Mississippi River forces the bridges to rise up over 150 feet in the air, then cross the wide river navigation channel. For decades, the only solution to this problem was building big metal monster bridges.

Of the large truss bridges over the lower Mississippi, the Interstate Highway I-10 Horace Wilkinson Bridge is the biggest of the big. It rises 175 feet above the water, making it the highest of any Mississippi River bridge, at least measured over the navigation channel (side spans of the Smith Avenue High Bridge in Saint Paul are taller, but its center span is 10 feet lower than the I-10 structure). The Wilkinson Bridge is 14,150 feet long overall, which is more than 2-1/2 miles. The truss superstructure is 4,550 feet long, and features a 1,235-foot clear channel span. The traffic deck carries six lanes of freeway traffic, seeing an average of 90,000 vehicles per day.

The I-10 bridge appears to drivers to have a very steep incline leading to the truss spans. I am often asked what the grade is, especially by over-the-road truck drivers. The incline is a bit of an optical illusion given that the area on both sides of the river is so flat and low. This makes the bridge visible from several miles. Once on the incline, vehicles make the climb quickly given the highway speeds. In reality, the incline climbs about 150 feet over the course of a mile, making for a grade that is around 2%.

Many local people refer to this bridge as the ‘New Bridge’, to distinguish the structure from the older US-190 bridge located 4 miles to the north. The bridge was officially named by the Louisiana state legislature in Act 206 in 1968. The act states, “These gentlemen served diligently, contributing greatly to the betterment of the state” when speaking of the three generations of Wilkinsons who served a total of 54 years in that body. There is some dispute if the state of Louisiana legislature had the authority to give an official name to a federally funded bridge. As a result, the official bridge name is not posted on Interstate I-10. The official name ‘Horace Wilkinson Bridge’ is not widely known. In fact, representatives have unwittingly introduced bills to the legislature on several occasions proposing to give the bridge an official name not realizing that the bridge had already been named.

While I visited on a somewhat gloomy day, the rain let up long enough for me to take photos both crossing the bridge, and from the west end of the bridge. With a bridge this large, it is nearly impossible to find a vantage point where you can capture a majority of the structure, yet not have obstacles in the way. Some of these photos were taken shortly after Hurricane Katrina, and I ended up getting chased out of the area two different times by FEMA security. FEMA apparently set up a base camp for New Orleans relief under the west end of the bridge. In a land where we are supposed to have government of the people and for the people, they sure are not very friendly towards the people.

The photo above is a view of the downriver face of the truss superstructure as seen from a vantage point southwest of the river crossing. The steel truss is such a massive structure that it dwarfs the deck truss approach spans, which are engineering marvels in their own right.

Horace Wilkinson Bridge
The photo above is looking northeast towards the truss superstructure from the industrial area located on the west bank of the Mississippi River. This location happened to just outside of the entrance to the FEMA base camp, which allowed me to have a chance to discuss bridge photography with several dismayed members of the FEMA organization. The photo below is another view of the river crossing as seen from an entrance ramp leading from northbound LA-1 to eastbound I-10.

Horace Wilkinson Bridge
Horace Wilkinson Bridge
The photo above is entering eastbound I-10 from a ramp that exited from northbound LA-1. This is the west portal of the truss superstructure. The photo below is heading westbound on I-10 towards the east bridge portal.

Horace Wilkinson Bridge

Made With Macintosh
Authored by John A. Weeks III, Copyright © 1996—2016, all rights reserved.
For further information, contact: