Canadian River Bridge
4,235 linear ft.
CSG – Structural Enginner
Originally constructed in 1906 as a wagon bridge, the Canadian River Wagon Bridge is the longest pin-connected bridge in Texas, spanning 3,255 ft with Parker through trusses The 16 ft wide roadway rested on concrete pillars with steel footings driven 65 ft into the riverbed. In 1923, when high waters and the course of the river caused a natural widening of the river bed Hemphill Count paid Austin Bridge Company of Dallas to add four additional Parker trusses increasing the length by 620 ft for a total of 4,235 ft.
With modern improvements in the automobile industry the bridge soon became too narrow for through traffic and motor cars or wagons passing each other. It is reported that often time’s travelers would arrive mid-bridge to meet another vehicle going in the opposite direction. Hours were spent on the bridge arguing over who had the right away and who should back off the bridge. In 1953 a $1,000,000 concrete and steel bridge was built by the Texas Highway Department spanning the river within throwing distance of the old Wagon Bridge.
For many years West Texas Gas Company, formerly High Plains Gas Company, leased the Canadian River Wagon Bridge to support a natural gas pipeline which spanned the river. In recent years a committee of interested citizens raised funds along with matching grants (approximately $950,000) to renovate the bridge, laying a wooden planked floor/decking and installing side-guard railings, to create a walking bridge across the natural habitat of the river.