Swann Covered Bridge

Hayden, Alabama

The Swann Covered Bridge, also called the Joy Covered Bridge[1] 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,[1] about 10 miles (16 km) northwest of Oneonta. Coordinates are 33.997597, -86.601425.

Built in 1933,[1] the 324-foot (99-m) 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. The bridge is currently closed to motor vehicle traffic due to safety concerns, but it should still be accessible via Swann Bridge Road from the west side. There is room to park and walk across or under the single-lane bridge. From the east side, the bridge is inaccessible by motor vehicle as Swann Bridge Road is currently closed at the top of the hill before the bridge. Property owners will not allow vehicles to park there as posted by signs. 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 Zelmer C. Tidwell and his uncle Forrest 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.

The Blount County Commission is currently working to secure funds for structural analysis and conservation of its three remaining covered bridges. According to signs posted on the nearby Easley Covered Bridge in 2009 after all three were closed (the Horton Mill Covered Bridge was closed in 2007 but reopened in late 2009) due to safety concerns, the Blount County Commission is being criticized for lack of maintenance to its covered bridges over recent years.