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Highways, Byways, And Bridge Photography
Veterans Memorial Bridge
LA-3213 Mississippi River Crossing At Gramercy
Gramercy, Louisiana

Veterans Memorial Bridge

• Structure ID: NBI: 614704340300011.
• Location: River Mile 145.9.
• River Elevation: 0 Feet (Sea Level).
• Highway: LA-3213.
• Daily Traffic Count: 7,600 (2003).
• Bridge Type: Continuous Steel Truss Through Deck.
• Length: 3101 Feet.
• Width: 4 Lanes.
• Navigation Channel Width: 750 Foot Clear Channel.
• Height Above Water: 165 Feet.
• Date Built: Opened in 1995.
Prior to 1964, there were only two cities with highway bridges over the Mississippi River on the lower 350 miles of the great river. The need for traffic to cross the river was largely met by a series of ferry crossings, some of which are private ventures, and others that are state operated. The state of Louisiana wishes to replace many of these ferry crossings with highway bridges, but progress is slow. A ferry boat tragedy in 1976 that claimed 78 lives brought national attention to the problem. The I-310 Hale Boggs Memorial Bridge was built directly as a result of the ferry accident, and this bridge at Gramercy followed a decade later.

The bridge at Gramercy carries Louisiana highway LA-3213 over the Mississippi River. The structure is often called the Gramercy Bridge, but its official name is the Veterans Memorial Bridge. While economic development really took off near Donaldson after the Sunshine Bridge was completed, the Veterans Memorial Bridge has yet to realize its full potential. It has helped the local farming industry avoid hauling sugar cane the long way around using another river crossing. Beyond that, the highway going west into rural Louisiana has never been built, leading some to refer to this structure as a bridge to nowhere.

Update—As of June 17, 2008, the ‘Bridge To Nowhere’ is finally connected on both ends. The stub connection on the west end of the bridge was extended two miles to meet with LA-3127. The west end formerly connected only to the Great River Road running along the Mississippi River. The road extension was finished for some time before it finally opened. The power company took months to run power lines one mile down the road to a railroad crossing. Without the railroad crossing being completed, the road could not be opened to highway traffic, making it a ‘Road To Nowhere’ from the ‘Bridge To Nowhere’.

The photo above is a view looking south towards the Veterans Memorial Bridge from a vantage point along the edge of highway LA-3213 located about a mile and a half north of the Mississippi River. The river is 2,300 feet wide at this location, putting the far end of the bridge truss structure about two miles away in this view.


Veterans Memorial Bridge
These two photos are views looking towards the bridge from vantage points located northeast of the structure. The river runs east and west at this location, so the bridge crosses the river in a southerly direction. The photo above a view near the approach spans located about 2,800 feet from the edge of the Mississippi River. The photo below is a wider view from a vantage point located about 1,000 feet further north.

Veterans Memorial Bridge
Veterans Memorial Bridge
The photo above is a view of the Veterans Memorial Bridge as seen from about a mile southwest of the bridge from a vantage point located along the road that parallels the Mississippi River.

The spectacular photo below was taken by Andy Jung from the window of an airliner just prior to landing at New Orleans. While I normally only use my own photography, this one was far too good to pass up. The lack of a connecting highway on the far side of the bridge is easily seen from this vantage point.


Veterans Memorial Bridge

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Authored by John A. Weeks III, Copyright © 1996—2014, all rights reserved.
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