HOUSTON COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - Texas Department of Transportation has deemed the Neches River Relief Bridge in Houston County eligible for their Historic Bridge Legacy Program.
The Legacy Program preserves historically significant bridges and places them up for adoption when they have outlived the ability to maintain a safe structure for vehicles to cross.
According to a press release from TxDOT special consideration of potential candidates for the program undergo a review process. The Neches River Relief Bridge was selected due to wear and tear from years of use, but also because of the historical role it played in 19th century transportation.
The programs main focus is to relocate these bridges to hiking trails and public parks so that the community has the ability to view and appreciate them.
Adopting a bridge might sound odd, but TxDOT has a full list of bridges that have historical significance and stories that make them important for the community to remember and honor.
The Neches River Bridge in particular was important to mid-19th century travelers who used it to connect them to Alto and Rusk, both of those cities at the time were seen as important shipping points. It also connected trading routes along the St. Louis Southwest railroad.
Due to rust and structural damage the bridge has been deemed unsafe for use and according to TxtDOT the width does not allow it to be used for farming traffic.
Rhonda Oaks, the public information officer for Lufkin's TxDOT said, "This historic bridge will be removed and hopefully will find a new home where the public can enjoy viewing it and pedestrians will be able to use it."
The Neches River Relief Bridge serves as an important reminder of the communities historical ties and the adoption process gives the public an avenue to honor the legacy of a monument that shaped our area to what it is today.
For a full list of historic bridges up for adoption all you have to do is visit www.txdot.gov and search "adopt a historic bridge".