Map It Map It

Description of the Bridge
The Bayou Teche Bridge at Oaklawn (Structure Number 03514083000201) located on LA 323 between LA 87 and Parish Road 28/Irish Bend Road was constructed circa 1942 and is a one lane, low steel truss (Warren) swing span.

National Register Eligibility
The bridge was determined eligible for the National Register of Historic Places under Criterion C as the earliest surviving Warren Polygonal truss, low swing-span bridge constructed on the Bayou Teche during World War II, and under Criterion A as the cost of bridge construction was split three ways among the Louisiana Department of Highways, the St. Mary Parish Police Jury, and Oaklawn and Sterling Plantation owners at that time, which was a unique situation and remains rare.

Status of the Bridge
The bridge is owned by the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) and is proposed to be replaced under State and Federal Project No. H.002798.

Because the bridge is historic, it was marketed to other entities for relocation and preservation. The required marketing term has ended and all marketing requirements have been met. Currently, the bridge has a prospective new owner and transfer of ownership is pending.  All parties are working on the relocation and preservation of the steel swing span.   Contact Michelle Hanks at for more information. 

Dimensions of the Bridge
The bridge is 314 feet long by 15 feet wide. The swing span portion of the bridge is 162 feet long, and consists of the two steel trusses, swing mechanism, wood deck (consisting of timber planks with pieces of hatched steel plate down the tire lines), stringers that support the deck, floor beams to which the stringers are attached, and lateral bracing that runs between the floor beams.

Photograph of the Bridge


Vicinity Map Showing Location of Bridge

As-Built Plans for Bayou Teche Bridge at Oaklawn



Funds for Relocation and Reuse of the Bridge
Federal funds that would have been used for demolition of historic bridges can be used for preservation.

The estimated cost of demolition of the Oaklawn Bridge is $200,000, which includes an estimate of $65,000 for removal of lead paint from the swing span portion. This cost will be made available to the new owner for historic preservation.

Stipulations for Bridge Ownership Transfer
The entity receiving the bridge must agree to the following:

  1. The entity will be responsible for payment of the salvage value of the entire bridge, or the swing span portion, which is estimated to be $5,000. This cost may be deducted from the historic preservation funds available. (Pursuant to Title 7 Section 14(A) of the Louisiana Constitution, property or things of value of the state shall not be donated to or for any person, association, or corporation, public or private.)
  2. The entity must accept full ownership and all financial and legal responsibilities, including maintenance and liability, for the entire bridge or swing span portion.
  3. The entity would be responsible for removal of the lead paint from the swing span portion.
  4. The entity shall ensure that the entire bridge or swing span portion is closed to motorized vehicular traffic (i.e., cars and trucks).
  5. The bridge cannot be moved or altered in any way until the Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) documentation has been completed and accepted by the Louisiana State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) and the National Park Service for submittal to the Library of Congress.
  6. The proposed use of the entire bridge or swing span portion will be subject to the approval of FHWA, DOTD, and SHPO.
  7. For the swing span portion, the entity will be allowed 90 days from the date of the title transfer to move the structure to its new location.
  8. For the swing span portion, the entity will be required to post a plaque with information that the swing span was part of the Bayou Teche Bridge at Oaklawn.
  9. The entity will be required to execute a preservation agreement which will include the above stipulations.