This bridge was originally built as a railroad bridge, and included a single lane cantilevered deck on one side for vehicular traffic.When the bridge was abandoned by the railroad in 1965, the main railroad deck was converted for vehicular use. In ca. 2014 plans came together for a new highway bridge to the north, which as of 2019 had resulted in a complete new bridge. The historic bridge has been left standing next to its replacement for pedestrian use only, a positive preservation outcome.
In addition to the through truss spans, there are a couple unique approach spans at the west end. These approach spans are a hybrid of bridge types, with deck plate girders supporting the railroad deck, and unusual lightweight riveted deck trusses supporting the cantilever deck.
Information and Findings From Texas Historical Commission
Originally built as a railroad bridge for the Missouri, Oklahoma and Gulf (MO&G) Line, this landmark structure across the Red River continues to provide a transportation route between Grayson County, Texas, and Bryan County, Oklahoma. MO&G officials determined they needed a line through Grayson County to connect there with other railways in order to secure better freight rates for their shipments from the Oklahoma coal mines. The new line, under construction by 1910, entered Texas via this bridge at the small community known as Carpenters Bluff. Completed in the late summer of 1910, the Carpenters Bluff Bridge was designed to withstand major floods such as the one in 1908 that had destroyed several area bridges. Its design also included a wagon shelf, an extra lane to serve travelers on foot and horseback, as well as horse-drawn vehicles, all of whom had to pay a toll for its use. In 1921, ownership passed to the Kansas, Oklahoma and Gulf Railway Co., which maintained the line until 1965, when the company ceased operations in Texas due to declining rail traffic. The Texas & Pacific Railroad maintained the bridge for a brief time and then deeded it to the counties of Grayson and Bryan. County commissioners agreed to convert the structure for vehicular traffic, and upon completion of that work, the bridge was opened as a free public thoroughfare. Spanning the Red River since 1910, the Carpenters Bluff Bridge remains a significant part of Grayson County's history. (2002)
Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes
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