80-year-old structure in San Saba County no longer suitable for vehicular traffic; agency hopes to find new life for historic span as a pedestrian bridge

The Texas Department of Transportation is looking to find a new home for a historic steel truss bridge currently located in San Saba County. The bridge, built in 1936, is located on County Road 236 at Richland Creek. The narrow, one-lane structure is neither wide enough nor strong enough to accommodate the large agricultural and commercial vehicles that require access to this farming and ranching area.

TxDOT has authorized a construction project that will replace the steel truss bridge with a modern concrete structure. Due to the limited number of truss bridges remaining in the state, the Texas Historical Commission has determined that all remaining truss bridges meet the criteria for statewide historical significance. As part of the process of finding a possible preservation alternative for the bridge, TxDOT is reaching out to surrounding local governments and non-profit entities who might be interested in reusing the bridge for a pedestrian function. This bridge is being offered through TxDOT’s historic bridge adoption program.

Similar statewide projects have resulted in moving bridges to a local park or along a pedestrian trail. TxDOT requires relocated bridges to remain open for public pedestrian access, though the bridges cannot be used for public vehicular traffic.

If your entity has interest in the truss for such a use, TxDOT asks that you send us your plan and financial commitment to provide for the basic rehabilitation of the bridge. This structure is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places and thus commitments to rehabilitate and maintain the structure are required in your reuse proposal. While TxDOT does not charge a purchase fee for historic bridges, the prospective owners are responsible for all costs associated with moving and rehabilitating the bridge. The estimated cost to rehabilitate this bridge is approximately $192,500.

The construction project to build the new bridge is scheduled to be contracted in May 2016. TxDOT anticipates finalizing its decision for the reuse of the truss bridge as soon as possible. If a suitable new owner cannot be found, San Saba County will retain ownership of the bridge. We are also discussing this project with the Texas Historical Commission (THC) and the Historic Bridge Foundation, as well as marketing the bridge statewide.

Please contact Andrew Chisholm at TxDOT’s Brownwood District to discuss the bridge and your preservation option. He may be reached by phone at 325-643-0442 or email at andrew.chisholm@txdot.gov. You may also contact Rebekah Dobrasko with TxDOT Environmental Affairs by phone at 512-416-2570 or email at rebekah.dobrasko@txdot.gov.

TxDOT’s Brownwood District includes Brown, Coleman, Comanche, Eastland, Lampasas, McCulloch, Mills, San Saba and Stephens counties.