Trinity River Bridge/ W Lancaster Ave Bridge – Lancaster

The Trinity River Bridge was a $675,000 project erected by the Texas Highway Department with federal grade crossing elimination funds. It connected west Fort Worth with the central business district as part of a cross-town artery planned for East and West Lancaster. Julian Montgomery was the highway engineer in charge of the project, and Russ Mitchell, me. from Houston was the contracting firm which erected the bridge. The 3,000-foot long span was opened to the public on June 15, 1939. Massive concrete piers supporting the bridge are treated at the pedestrian walkway level as benches flanked by colorful terra cotta panels’depicting Texas longhorns. The Highway Department apparently feared that the contractor responsible for the terra cotta work might have trouble depicting a longhorn accurately. Their specifications state: ‘The modeler’s attention is called to the fact that a longhorn steer’s head is quite different from heads of ordinary dairy cattle. A warning is hereby conveyed against the use of red…. A watercolor sketch or other suitable color drawing shall be submitted to the Austin office as a truthful illustration of the colors obtainable for the finished product.” The bridge, as it crosses Trinity Park and the Trinity River, is a very successful attempt to provide a scenic route in and out of downtown. The Trinity River Bridge may be eligible for the National Register on the basis of its design and environmental importance.

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