Copyright © Janice Tracy, Mississippi Memories

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Swinging Bridge at Byrum

Almost everyone who was a teenager growing up during the sixties in Jackson, Mississippi knew about "the swinging bridge," south of town. But few of them ever crossed it in a vehicle. Most ventured there because it was in a remote, wooded area, far away from their parents' eyes. Those days are now long gone, and foot traffic from curiosity seekers is all the traffic the bridge ever sees today. At least for now.

Built in 1905, the "swinging bridge" that spans the Pearl River near Byrum, Mississippi, is a single-span suspension bridge that transported vehicles from this portion of southern Hinds County into nearby Rankin County during the early part of the twentieth century. It was fairly typical of similar bridges built in Mississippi and in other places during that time frame. Once used for various types of vehicular traffic, possibly including log trucks going into the pine forests nearby, the bridge has been closed to vehicles since about 1987.

Although visitors can be seen walking across the bridge in the picture here that I took in April 2008, I would warn against doing so. Curiosity seekers still come in large numbers, particularly on the weekends, due in part to events at a nearby raceway. But walking on the bridge may not be as safe as it looks. During our venture there with my brother and sister-in-law last spring, we observed the bridge in a somewhat dangerous state of repair. Not only did we notice that pieces of large boards were missing, we observed gaping holes left by those missing pieces that were large enough to afford anyone brave enough to venture near with a clear view of the river some 100 feet or so below.

My brother mentioned that he had heard the bridge was scheduled for a restoration  roject to begin in late 2008. I certainly hope the project is ongoing.

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