At this location over Wares Creek once stood one of the oldest concrete arch deck bridges in the State of Florida. Designed by noted local civil engineer Freeman H. Horton, the former 9th Avenue West bridge was constructed during World War II by the Bradenton Public Works Department using federal funds. The bridge was a relatively late example of a concrete arch deck bridge, a structurally more complex design than girder or slab construction. The 36.4-foot long bridge linked the Ballard Park neighborhood abutting Wares Creek, and served a vital role in providing safe, convenient east-west travel within the city. In addition to being well-known for his bridge design, Horton also holds the distinction of being the first Manatee High School alumnus to graduate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In his design for the 9th Avenue West Bridge, Horton used an unusual zigzag handrail that is found on only one other Florida bridge, the 7th Avenue West Bridge over Wares Creek, which he also designed. When the 9th Avenue West Bridge was replaced in 2012, its distinctive original handrail was preserved and incorporated into the design of the new bridge.