Historic Bridges in Texas

With a state as large as Texas, the transportation networks that connect our communities have played a vital role in the state's economy and settlement patterns. From the railroads to the ranch roads, the city streets to the interstates, these systems shape the Texas landscape. Natural crossings dictated where the earliest travelers established routes, and many modern roadways follow the same paths. As technology has evolved, so have the methods we use to cross streams, geological features, and even other transportation systems. 

 

Post-World War II Era: Historic Bridge Open Houses

The Texas Historical Commission (THC) is teaming up with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) and the Historic Bridge Foundation (HBF) to share the stories of the evolving bridge technology from the decades following World War II. From 1945 to 1965, engineers in Texas worked with new materials and construction methods to develop innovative approaches to bridge design. Some bridges from this time period are the earliest examples of technology eventually adopted as national standards or that served as important steps toward a better understanding of steel and concrete.

More than 100 of these bridges have been determined eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places, but many of them are not good candidates for long-term preservation. In an effort to streamline federal and state regulatory review, THC, TxDOT, and HBF would like public input about which are the most significant of the bridges and will be hosting open houses in July and August 2014. The THC website will also host materials from the open houses and information about the bridges, technology, and engineers from this time period, so stay tuned and please join us at one of these events:

Here are tables of the bridges determined eligible for listing in the National Register and a preliminary map that lets you explore them by location. They are broken into three groups in tiered levels of significance based on conversations between THC, TxDOT, and HBF. We will have more explanation of the various groups as open house materials are produced, and we are seeking public input on the list and the groupings, so please let us know what you think.

 

Have questions about the upcoming workshops or post‐1945 bridges? Please contact TxDOT’s environmental consultant, Maryellen Russo, 512.264.1095 or mrusso@blantonassociates.com.