The twin-towered, double-deck, vertical lift bridge carries four highway lanes on the upper segment and a railroad track on the lower level across Portage Lake. When fully raised, the lift span provides a clearance of 104 feet for shipping. This bridge serves as a vital link joining the cities of Hancock and Houghton. The bridge replaced a steel swing bridge of 1905, which, in turn, replaced an earlier wooden swing bridge.
In 2005 the U.S. Department of Transportation designated U.S. 41 from Houghton to Copper Harbor, The Copper Country Trail, a National Scenic Byway. Its views offer forests, Lake Superior, and remnants of the first mining boom in the nation's history.