Louisiana Roads - LA 538

LA 538

LA 538 is old LA 1 north of Shreveport.

Looking north and south along the future path of I-49. In April 2011, all that was done immediately north of I-220 was clearing the land. That, and apparently setting the new highway on fire.

SB at what are now old shields, since LADOTD switched to black on white. Notice that LA 538 has Series B digits and LA 767 has Series C. Based on how shoddily shields are assembled, I've determined that the sign blanks (with "LA" on top) are manufactured en masse, and then numerals are applied by hand as needed from whatever's in the parts bin.

SB at the Caddo Lake Drawbridge, the former LA 1 and then LA 538 crossing. It was built in 1914 to replace the Mooringsport Ferry then in operation. There was once a counterweight for operating the draw span, but it was removed when LADOTD took over the bridge from Caddo Parish following World War II and determined that the bridge would never need to be lifted again. If you're into diving, all they did was drop the mass of concrete into the lake, so have at.

Parked on the south side and walking north onto the bridge. With advances in traffic knowledge, LADOTD found that there really wasn't enough width here to have two lanes of traffic, so it was converted to a 1-lane bridge in the 1970s and bypassed soon after by the current, boring span. The drawbridge was slated for removal, which was Federally funded in 1989, but local residents came together and were able to save the bridge, using the Federal funds to refurbish it and then having LADOTD give the bridge back to Caddo Parish for future maintenance. Good idea, because just 7 years later the bridge was deemed a nationally registered Historic Place as the last vertical lift bridge in Louisiana (despite having no counterweight).

Looking west at a railroad bridge and east at the LA 1 Caddo Lake Bridge, which looks interesting in its own right.

Continuing north, with looks up at the remarkable structure.

A southbound closeup of the draw mechanism at the top of the bridge. Click for a tall view from top to bottom.

Assorted views of the bridge and its crumbling concrete deck. Oh, look, there's some reinforcement sticking out. That must have been swell for people's tires. Fun fact: this bridge was closed during World War II for army practice. No less figures than Generals Eisenhower and Patton came to this spot, each leading an army to capture and defend the bridge. The fun part is that they conducted bombing drills using flour sacks. Can you imagine if you let the other army win the bridge? Boy, would your face be white.

Onto the parent LA 1
Onto (Future) I-49
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