French King Bridge

Erving/Gill, Massachusetts
This spandrel-braced steel deck arch bridge gracefully spans the Connecticut River, gracefully connecting the towns of Erving and Gill in Massachusetts.
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About This Location

The French King Bridge stands as a testament to both engineering prowess and scenic beauty. This spandrel-braced steel deck arch bridge gracefully spans the majestic Connecticut River, gracefully connecting the towns of Erving and Gill in Massachusetts. Owned and maintained by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, this architectural marvel is a vital part of Massachusetts Route 2, catering to automotive, bicycle, and pedestrian traffic.

On a significant day, September 10, 1932, the French King Bridge opened its arms to traffic, and since then, it has been a symbol of both connectivity and artistic elegance. Over the years, the bridge has undergone meticulous restoration, with a major rehabilitation effort taking place in 1992, followed by further restoration from 2008 to 2010.

The French King Bridge is a striking structure, stretching 782 feet in length, with a width of 47.8 feet and soaring to a height of 140 feet above the river’s surface. At its heart, it accommodates two lanes for automobiles, ensuring the smooth flow of traffic, while generously flanking both sides with pedestrian-friendly sidewalks. What makes this bridge particularly unique is its extraordinary design. The decision to construct a steel deck arch bridge was driven not only by the practical need for a river crossing but also by the exceptional natural surroundings.

Perched high above the river, the bridge had to harmonize with its awe-inspiring environment, which featured steep gorge sides, a rocky riverbed, and swift currents. The result is a breathtaking structure that blends seamlessly with the landscape.

The French King Bridge’s superstructure is a work of art in itself, with its steel arch exuding grace and beauty. The bridge’s appeal is further enhanced by the exquisite detailing of its concrete abutments, which feature decorative pillars rising gracefully above the deck. This blending of form and function didn’t go unnoticed; in fact, the American Institute of Steel Construction bestowed upon it the prestigious title of “Most Beautiful Steel Bridge” in 1932.

The bridge also received recognition for its preservation efforts, as it was honored with the Massachusetts Historic Commission Preservation Award in 1993. It’s no surprise that this bridge has garnered such accolades, as its elegant design perfectly complements the natural wonders surrounding it, including the famed French King Rock, an enchanting geographical feature right in the middle of the river.

In essence, the French King Bridge isn’t just a structure for crossing a river; it’s a work of art that harmonizes with its environment, a symbol of engineering excellence, and a place where the beauty of design meets the majesty of nature. It continues to stand as a shining example of the enduring legacy of architectural achievement.

Location

Address: Route 2, Erving/Gill, Massachusetts
Place GPS Coordinates: 42.597871, -72.496839
Parking GPS Coordinates: 42.597871, -72.496839
Parking Notes: There are several parking spots on both sides of French King Bridge. The parking spot to the west has more spaces and a gazebo with information about the location. Parking is free.

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