Details for Cow Bayou Swing Bridge (Atlas Number 5507016525)

Historical Marker — Atlas Number 5507016525

Data

Marker Number 16525
Atlas Number 5507016525
Marker Title Cow Bayou Swing Bridge
Index Entry Cow Bayou Swing Bridge
Address
City Bridge City
County Orange
UTM Zone
UTM Easting
UTM Northing
Subject Codes bridges;
Marker Year 2010
Designations Recorded Texas Historic Landmark
Marker Location SH73/87, 1.13 mi. N.E. of jct. with FM 1442
Marker Size 27" x 42"
Marker Text THIS CENTER-BEARING SWING BRIDGE, COMPLETED IN 1940, IS ONE OF ONLY A FEW SUCH HIGHWAY BRIDGES REMAINING IN TEXAS. THE BRIDGE WAS THE LAST MAJOR COMPONENT CONSTRUCTED ALONG TEXAS HIGHWAY 87, WHICH WAS KNOWN AS THE “HUG-THE-COAST-HIGHWAY” RUNNING FROM ORANGE TO BROWNSVILLE. THE STRUCTURE ALSO CREATED A VITAL CONNECTION BETWEEN THE REGIONAL ECONOMIC CENTERS OF ORANGE AND PORT ARTHUR. THE COW BAYOU BRIDGE WAS MODELED AFTER AN EXISTING SWING BRIDGE OVER THE SABINE RIVER IN DEWEYVILLE, NEWTON COUNTY, WHICH HAD BEEN COMPLETED IN 1938. THIS STRUCTURE IS 806 FEET IN TOTAL LENGTH AND CARRIES TWO LANES OF TRAFFIC. THE BRIDGE HAS A CENTRAL PLATE THAT PIVOTS OR “SWINGS” ON A CENTER-BEARING CONCRETE PIER MOUNTED ON TIMBER PILES. AN ELECTRIC MOTOR POWERS ITS MOVING PARTS, AND A COMPLETE OPENING AND CLOSING OF THE BRIDGE CAN OCCUR IN TEN MINUTES, ALLOWING MOVEMENT OF BOTH ROAD AND WATER VEHICLES. AFTER THE COMPLETION OF THE BRIDGE, THE PRAIRIE VIEW AND WINFREE SCHOOL DISTRICTS, WHICH WERE LOCATED ON OPPOSITE SIDES OF COW BAYOU, WERE CONSOLIDATED. THE NAME BRIDGE CITY WAS SUGGESTED FOR THE NEW DISTRICT, BECAUSE OF THE COW BAYOU BRIDGE AND THE NEARBY “RAINBOW BRIDGE” OVER THE NECHES RIVER, WHICH HAD BEEN COMPLETED IN 1938; THE COMMUNITY INCORPORATED AS BRIDGE CITY IN 1970. IN 1999 THE TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION (TxDOT) CONSIDERED REPLACEMENT OF THE COW BAYOU BRIDGE, AND CONCERNED CITIZENS FORMED A GROUP IN 2007 TO ADVOCATE FOR THE BRIDGE’S RETENTION. AS A RESULT, TxDOT INSTEAD TOOK ACTION TO ADJUST AND REPAIR THE BRIDGE SO THAT IT COULD BE PRESERVED AS A FUNCTIONING PART OF AN IMPORTANT TRANSPORTATION CORRIDOR.