The Sarto Old Iron Bridge was built in response to flood problems in northeast Avoyelles Parish during the early part of the twentieth century. Frequent flooding between Bayou des Glaises and the Red River resulted in the need to evacuate people, livestock and crops to higher ground. Floodwaters from the Mississippi, Atchafalaya and Red Rivers often destroyed low-lying, wooden bridges over Bayou des Glaises, obstructing evacuation routes.The Avoyelles Parish Police Jury commissioned a steel truss swing bridge over the Bayou des Glaises at Big Bend on May 5, 1915, after two particularly destructive floods in 1912 and 1913. Construction of a bridge at the end of Sarto Lane began after the Police Jury approved a bid by Austin Brothers of Texas for $5,375 in June of 1915. The Bridge was opened for use, circa May 20, 1916. It was operational until 1988, when it was closed due to disrepair.Preservation and RestorationThree Avoyelles Parish residents were essential to the preservation and restoration of the Sarto Old Iron Bridge. Adam Ponthieu Sr., of Big Bend, was instrumental in motivating the Avoyelles Parish Police Jury to preserve the Sarto Bridge. Eleanor Blakewood Marshall of Kleinwood Plantation, researched the history of the bridge and documented the events leading to its construction. Carlos
Mayeux, President of La Commission des Avoyelles, played an important role in seeking funding for the restoration of the parish landmark with the assistance of the Avoyelles Parish Jury.