|About four miles northeast of Jesup is the former Atlantic Coast Line bridge over the Altamaha River, designed and constructed in 1911-13 to replace an earlier structure that lacked a draw span. While the older bridge had a 38-foot vertical clearance that was often adequate, at times of high water it tended to delay steamboat traffic.
This is the only still-active rail bridge over the Altamaha. The Seaboard Air Line and Georgia & Florida bridges, while remaining in existence, have been abandoned for years, while the Georgia Coast & Piedmont bridge between Darien and Brunswick was lost nearly a century ago.
Alongside the south river bank is the 117-foot bascule lift span, of a type known as a Strauss heel trunnion. It operates somewhat differently from the Scherzer rolling lift bridge used by the Georgia & Florida at the upper end of the Altamaha, but the result is the same in that a descending counterweight causes the lift span to rotate upwards. (For a discussion of the differences in bascule types, see the NMRA's data sheet Movable Bridges: Bascules.)
The bridge is at mile 59.4 of the Altamaha. Here on the south side of the river was a steamboat landing and the former community of Doctortown. Late in the Civil War, a Union brigade attacked Confederate forces defending the railroad bridge, but withdrew after the assault failed.