US 190 Bridge at the Colorado River
The US 190 Bridge at the Colorado River conveys U.S. Highway 190 over the Colorado River at the Lampasas and San Saba county line west of Lometa, linking the cities of Lampasas and San Saba, the county seats. The Texas Highway Department (THD) designed the bridge. The bridge was constructed by Cage Brothers & L.A. Turner between 1939 and 1940.
The Colorado River bridge was constructed to replace the former bridge, known as the Red Bluff Bridge, damaged in a severe flood in July 1938. The THD district engineer believed that the damaged bridge would be too costly to rebuild. THD engineers applied for federal emergency relief funds from the Bureau of Public Roads (BPR) to cover the cost of constructing a new bridge. On November 28, 1938, the BPR approved the use of emergency relief highway funds provided for under Section 3 of the Hayden-Cartwright Act of 1934. The cost of constructing a new bridge over the Colorado at Red Bluff was estimated at $275,000, with $137,500 to be covered by the federal funds.
THD engineers custom-designed the bridge’s truss spans. The bridge consists of one three-span continuous steel truss unit 600 feet long and three three-span continuous I-beam units serving as approach spans on the bridge’s west end. These spans form a continuous Warren truss with top chords resembling the curve seen in suspension bridges.
Cage Brothers & L.A. Turner began construction on August 15, 1939. The new bridge site was ½-mile north (upstream) of the damaged Red Bluff Bridge. The Virginia Bridge Company of Roanoke, Virginia, fabricated the steel spans in its Birmingham, Alabama, plant. The project was completed on May 8, 1940, 65 days ahead of schedule, at a total cost of $199,039.
In early 1940, the Bureau of Public Roads changed to the Public Roads Administration of the Federal Works Agency. The bronze plaque affixed to the bridge identifies the Public Roads Administration of the Federal Works Agency as the federal agency responsible for the project.
The US 190 Bridge at the Colorado River is one of only seven continuous through truss bridges surviving in Texas and one of only five built before World War II. This bridge was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 10, 1996.
Project originally submitted by Larry Moore on October 24, 2015.
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