Tommy Mann Jr.
The Orange Leader
BRIDGE CITY —
The Cow Bayou Swing Bridge is a piece of local history, but, at 2 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 1, it will officially become part of state history.
The Cow Bayou Swing Bridge, located on East Roundbunch Road just outside of Bridge City, will have a dedication ceremony at 2 p.m., Saturday, as a state historical marker is unveiled at the bridge. The public is invited to attend.
The bridge, which was built in 1939-1940, is one of only two its kind remaining in Texas and members of the Bridge City Citizens for Historic Preservation, which is now disbanded, helped to keep the bridge intact when plans were announced to have it dismantled.
Thanks to committee members such as Beverly Perry and Mark Dunn, along with organizations such as the Texas Historical Commission and Historic Bridge Foundation, the Cow Bayou Bridge was not only spared, but also placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2010. This makes the bridge just one of six such locations in Orange County.
“It’s a part of the city’s history and that’s why Mark (Dunn) and I, and so many others, were so enthused to save it,” Beverly Perry stated in a press release.
Although the bridge has been around for more than 70 years, it has been dealt moderate damage through years of use and deadly storms, such as Hurricane Rita and Hurricane Ike.
Surveys of the bridge following each of these storms indicates the Cow Bayou Bridge is in need of major repairs. Fortunately, those repairs will be forthcoming in 2013.
Funding from a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and from Round 2 Disaster grant will help finance the project which is estimated at $15.6 million.
The bridge will be “refurbished” and will be 99.5 percent new when completed. The project will include the rehabilitation of the swing bridge structure, bridge control house, repair of both electrical and mechanical components, embankments, boat fender system, pedestrian walkway and more. The swing span concrete deck will be replaced, and traffic safety systems will be installed.
The bridge will also be closed to traffic for a short period during its renovation.