Details for Arroyo Colorado Lift Bridge (Atlas Number 5507017748)

Historical Marker — Atlas Number 5507017748

Data

Marker Number 17748
Atlas Number 5507017748
Marker Title Arroyo Colorado Lift Bridge
Index Entry Arroyo Colorado Lift Bridge
Address FM 106
City Rio Hondo
County Cameron
UTM Zone 14
UTM Easting 641256
UTM Northing 2902549
Subject Codes bridges; engineering topics; water topics
Marker Year 2012
Designations Recorded Texas Historic Landmark
Marker Location West side of the Arroyo Colorado near bridge on FM 106
Marker Size 27" x 42" with post
Marker Text The Arroyo Colorado is the Lower Rio Grande Valley’s only natural waterway besides the Rio Grande. The 89-mile stream extends from mission in Hidalgo County to the lower Laguna Madre in Cameron County. From early colonization in the late 1700s, the Arroyo has been an impediment to travel, with only two prominent locations to cross. In 1910, the town of Rio Hondo, meaning “deep river” in Spanish, was established. Because of its location on the east bank of the Arroyo Colorado, travelers from the nearest major town of Harlingen or any other town west of the stream had difficulties traveling to Rio Hondo. Following the construction of the San Benito Canal, land around Rio Hondo began to open for agricultural development. A narrow low water wooden bridge suspended on piles was stretched across the Arroyo in the 1920s but was frequently subjected to flooding and high tidal flows. To better serve travelers from the west, a one-vehicle ferry was put into operation until 1927 when a one-lane steel span bridge was erected. When the plan to dredge the Arroyo Colorado to create a port for Harlingen materialized, a temporary swing bridge was built. In May 1953, the new vertical-lift bridge spanning over 380 feet in length and 25 feet in width opened. Designed by the New York engineering firm Parsons, Brinckerhoff, Hall & MacDonald, the bridge operated with two electric pulley motors on each side of the span with a lift and descent of ten to fifteen minutes. The bridge is not only a practical economic lifeline and a prime gateway to area attractions but is the only lift bridge built between 1945 and 1960 in Texas that is still in operation.