The original bridge at this location was completed in 1843. It was constructed for the private shareholder-owned Alexandria Delaware Bridge Co. (Frenchtown at the time was an unincorporated portion of Alexandria Township, N.J.) The bridge had six covered wooden spans using latticed “Town Type” trusses. The “pumpkin flood” of October 10, 1903 carried away the two wooden spans nearest the New Jersey approach. These were replaced with steel through truss spans in 1905. The bridge’s original masonry substructure — five piers and two abutments — remain in service today.
In 1931, the entire bridge (four surviving wooden spans and two steel replacement spans) was replaced with a six-span riveted steel Warren truss structure. The bridge’s wooden road deck was replaced with a steel open-grate deck in 1949. The bridge is narrow, with a clear roadway width of 16-feet 6-inches curb to curb. A concrete-filled steel grating sidewalk is supported by the upriver truss on steel cantilever brackets. The bridge is currently posted for a 15-ton weight limit and 15-MPH speed limit.
Major structural and cosmetic rehabilitation undertaken during the spring and summer of 2001 furnished the bridge with a new paint application, complete floor system replacement and the installation of a new sidewalk, lighting and guide rail system.
This river crossing operated as a private toll bridge for its first 86 years. The states of Pennsylvania and New Jersey jointly purchased it from the Alexandria Delaware Bridge Co. in a transaction facilitated by the former Joint Commission for Elimination of Toll Bridges on June 28, 1929 and immediately made it toll-free. The states transferred ownership of the river crossing outright to the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission on July 1, 1987. The Commission operates and maintains the bridge with a portion of the proceeds it collects at its eight toll bridges.