Originally the Solway Bridge was built in 1930 for the Emery/Emory Road when the route changed away from the ferry at Edgemoor known then as Blacks Ford Ferry. Previous to that, it had been at Lea Ford two miles upriver. The Solway route then took the Emory Road in via Scarboro Road to Robertsville, leaving the Stone Pillar Bridge to only carry traffic along the road from Clinton to Wheat. Later too during the War, Oak Ridge Highway would be built to accommodate Manhattan Project workers.
Many Counties were struggling with a lack of bridges and bridge maintenance. In fact most counties required individual citizens to build and maintain roads and bridges near their property. The creation of the Tennessee State Highway Department in 1915 and the passage of the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1916 began to change this social duty arrangement. However, due to funding limitations and the time needed to develop and implement a program, it was not until about 1920 that changes began to occur in the design and extent of road and bridge construction. In addition, the advent of World War I and its related shortage of materials sharply curtailed bridge construction in the late 1910s.
In 1929 the Knox County Court approved the construction of the Solway Bridge to replace a ferry: across the Clinch River (demolished 1970s). At this site, the combination of government guidelines that required a fifty-foot clearance above that would have resulted in a deck arch prohibitively elevated above existing road levels. Thus, Freeland-Roberts, the designer, used an open spandrel through arch design. The firm completed the plans in January 1930, and the county soon let the construction contract for $250,000 to the Southern Company of Birmingham. The county held dedication ceremonies with speeches and a free barbecue lunch at noon on 12 October 1931.