Built in 1961, the Helena bridge is about a mile long and 28 feet wide. It stretches across the Mississippi River, linking Helena with the town of Lula, Mississippi via US 49.
Before the bridge
Until the early 1960s, there was no bridge in Helena- and no easy way to get from one side of the river to the other. Area residents often took advantage of a ferry that shuttled people back and forth across the Mississippi.
Before the highway system was built and trucks became prevalent, trains and riverboats were the only way to transport goods long distances.'
Sometimes, they worked together! A train ferry-complete with train tracks units lower deck-helped carry locomotive cars back and forth across the river.
The Pelican was the train served Helena before the bridge was built.
Did you know?
The first bridge across the Mississippi River was built 1855 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The first railroad bridge over the river came in 1856 between Rock Island, Illinois and Davenport, Iowa.
The EADs Bridge in St. Louis, was the longest arch bridge in the world when it was built in 1874 and the first to use steel and cantilevered construction.
As of 2011, there were 221 bridges crossing the Mississippi River. Of those, ten were suspension
bridges. Most others, like the Helena Bridge, were pile bridges, which means they had wood, concrete or steel foundations.
What is the widest point on the Mississippi River?
The widest point is Lake Winnibigoshish near Grand Rapids, Minnesota. Water spans more than seven miles at this location.
What is the narrowest point on the Mississippi?
The narrowest point is at the river's source at Lake Itasca, Minnesota, where the river is between 20 and 30 feet wide.