Experimental investigations on the hydrodynamic forces on an intermittently spanning pipeline exposed to steady currents were carried out. The effect of intermittent local spanning sections on the global hydrodynamic behavior was studied by changing the ratio between the non-spanning length (B) and the total length (L), namely the blocking ratio B / L. A range of gap height (G) to diameter (D) ratios, i.e. gap ratio G / D, and 4 different Reynolds numbers (Re) in the subcritical region were tested in the experiments. The results show: i) for a certain gap ratio, the mean drag increases gently with the decreasing blocking ratio at Re = 5.5 × 104, whereas the mean lift decreases significantly with the decreasing blocking ratio at all values of Re tested; and ii) for a certain blocking ratio, increasing the gap ratio leads to an increase in mean drag and decrease in mean lift. Further, simple approaches are proposed based on the present dataset for estimating the global effects on hydrodynamic drag and lift forces due to local spanning geometry.