Note swing: bridge is no longer open to traffic.Photo: Eveline Evans © All Rights Reserved 6/8/2019
The construction of the Colorado River bridge was part of a larger THD undertaking to reroute SH 29 around Buchanan Dam, which was under construction beginning in 1931. The original roadway and the bridge across the Colorado at Bluffton were inundated by Lake Buchanan after completion of the dam in 1937.
The bridge site was fixed 1 mile below the Buchanan Dam, at a location where a granite outcropping formed a ledge at the east bank of the river. This ledge was considered an ideal location for the eastern approach to the bridge. In a preliminary inspection report dated July 17, 1936, the BPR engineer summarized, “The bridge site is quite clearly established by the terrain and the surrounding country, there being a high ledge on the east bank that affords a good location for the approach to the structure.”
THD bridge engineers chose the T24-200 design for the truss spans of the Colorado River bridge. Designed about 1932, the T24-200 is one of 25 different THD standard designs the Bridge Division developed for Parker through truss spans; only 11 of these designs are represented by Texas bridges today. The Colorado River bridge is one of two bridges conforming to the T24-200 design, and with its four truss spans, unusual piers with pointed ends, and curved-top steel railing, is the better of the two examples.
The Texas Highway Commission held bidding for the project in November 1936. After reviewing the bids submitted, the commission awarded the contract to the Austin Bridge Company of Dallas, which submitted the low bid of about $182,000. The Pittsburgh-Des Moines Steel Company of Des Moines, Iowa, fabricated the bridge’s four truss spans. The North Texas Iron & Steel Company of Fort Worth fabricated the 11 steel I-beam approach spans. Work on the bridge began on February 4, 1937, and was completed on September 30, 1937, 45 days ahead of schedule. The project cost totaled nearly $188,000; the federal contribution came to about $94,000.”
National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form, 1996, (https://atlas.thc.state.tx.us/NR/pdfs/96001116/96001116.pdf), accessed June 2019.
Project originally submitted by Eveline Evans on June 10, 2019.
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