Blount County Notables
The Swann Covered Bridge
The Swann Covered Bridge near Cleveland, Alabama before its recent restoration.
The Swann Covered Bridge, also called the Joy Covered Bridge or Swann-Joy Covered Bridge, is a county-owned, wood-&-metal combination style covered bridge that spans the Locust Fork of the Black Warrior River in Blount County, Alabama, United States. It is located on Swann Bridge Road off State Route 79, just west of the town of Cleveland, about 10 miles (16 km) northwest of Oneonta. Coordinates are 33°59'51.35?N 86°36'5.13?W.
Built in 1933, the 324-foot bridge is a Town Lattice truss construction over three spans. Its WGCB number is 01-05-05. The Swann Covered Bridge was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on August 20, 1981. It is currently the longest-existing covered bridge in Alabama and one of the longest in the United States. After having been closed to motor vehicle traffic in 2009, it was restored and reopened to motor vehicle traffic on October 22, 2012. It is accessible via Swann Bridge Road from both sides. There is room to park on either side and walk across or under the single-lane bridge. The Swann Covered Bridge is maintained by the Blount County Commission and the Alabama Department of Transportation.
The Swann Covered Bridge was built by a crew led by Zelma C. Tidwell over a scenic gorge of the Locust Fork on property owned by the Swann Farm. It was originally dubbed the 'Joy Covered Bridge', as the bridge connected Cleveland with the nearby community of Joy. The bridge was restored by the Blount County Commission in 1979. After the 385-foot Nectar Covered Bridge (also located in Blount County) burned down in 1993, the Swann Covered Bridge became the longest covered bridge existing in Alabama. It is one of 3 historic covered bridges remaining in Blount County.
After a routine inspection, the Swann Covered Bridge was closed in 2009 due to unsafe conditions along with nearby Easley Covered Bridge. The Horton Mill Covered Bridge was already closed as a result of vandalism which occurred in 2007. Restoration of all three bridges began in late 2011. Money for these projects primarily came from the federal National Historic Covered Bridge Preservation Program as well as transportation enhancement funds. The $469,110 construction contract was awarded to Bob Smith Construction of Trussville, Alabama. The Swann Covered Bridge would be the first of the three to be restored. Wooden structural pieces were repaired or replaced as needed and new tin roofs were put on all three bridges in order to keep the weather off vital supporting timbers. Total restoration costs for the covered bridges was approximately $540,000. The difference was covered by county expenditures.
Following necessary repairs and upgrades, the Swann Covered Bridge was reopened to motor vehicle traffic on October 22, 2012.
Main Span Length: 75.1 ft
Total Span Length: 330.1 ft
Deck Width: 16.1 ft
Vertical Clearance: 13.0 ft
Underclearance: 27.0 ft
This page was last updated April 24, 2016.