2015-02-15

The Rainbow Bridge, Texas

The Rainbow Bridge is a cantilever bridge stand on Neches River in Southeast Texas just upstream from Sabine Lake. It allows State Highway 87 and State Highway 73 to connect Port Arthur in Jefferson County on the southwest bank of the river with Bridge City in Orange County on the northeast bank. Construction on the bridge began in 1936 under the guidance of the Texas State Highway Department. The bridge was completed on September 8, 1938. The nearby town of Prairie View took on the name "Bridge City" in response. Due to concerns by the upstream city of Beaumont about the bridge posing a threat to ship navigation, the south’s tallest bridge, spanning 176 feet above and 680 feet across the Neches River. Adjacent, is the Veteran’s Memorial Bridge, the sister span to the Rainbow Bridge.

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Rainbow Bridge Texas


Initially named the Port Arthur-Orange Bridge, it received its current name in 1957. The bridge was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1996. A special driving rig was designed. The eight pairs of reinforced concrete piers were to extend from ninety-five feet to 102 feet below the surface of the water and rise eleven feet to twenty feet above. The sixty-eight smaller piers were to be supported to an average depth of seventy-five feet. The total length of the bridge and approaches would be 7,752 feet. The roadway was to be 252 feet wide between railings and 222 feet wide between curbs, providing an eighteen-inch walkway. [source 1 2]

Rainbow bridge in Texas

In 1988 construction began on a new multi-lane bridge, the Veterans' Memorial Bridge, which ran parallel to the old Rainbow Bridge. It was completed in 1991. In 1993 the Rainbow Bridge began renovations to bring the roadway to federal standards; in 1995 construction was still underway. The rehabilitated Rainbow Bridge was to provide two lanes for southbound traffic. Northbound traffic was to use the Veterans' Memorial Bridge, dedicated on September 8, 1990. The navy tender never traveled the Neches River, and no other ship has ever come close to hitting the bottom of the bridge. [source]

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Highest bridge in Texas
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Bridge city Texas Bridge

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Image credit Thomas Millard

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Image credit Thomas Millard

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Image credit Thomas Millard

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