Reprieve! Land owners offer plan to preserve bridge
Kit Worley, whose family gave the name to the landmark bridge, told The Reporter this week an alternative site for a new bridge has been identified.
TxDOT announced two weeks ago the bridge would be “replaced.”
‘NOT AN OPTION’—“Tearing it down or moving it in my opinion, and that of others, are not options,” Worley said.
Worley said he and Precinct 4 Commissioner Jeff Muegge have toured the area with TxDOT engineers.
“We tentatively pointed out a place downstream where a new concrete bridge could be placed, and they agreed,” he said.
“I own the land on the south bank and Linda (Linke) Secor owns the land on the north bank,” Worley said. “We collectively have agreed to donate land/easement for the new bridge, provided they leave the old, historic bridge in place as a walk bridge for tourists,” he said.
POSSIBILITIES—Bob Colwell, public information officer for TxDOT, said the agency is looking at a number of possibilities for preserving the bridge.
Colwell said one possibility would be converting the structure into a pedestrian bridge and building a new vehicle bridge next to it.
“A historical bridge team and local stakeholders will be involved with the decision of what to do with it,” he said.
“Some options for the bridge are for it to stay in place as a monument, move it as a monument to a different location or rehab the bridge for vehicular traffic,” he said.
NEW CROSSING— Colwell said Milam County and TxDOT are working on plans to reopen a crossing of the San Gabriel for the area.
Four families live north of the river, between it and FM 486. With the bridge closed their closest route to Rockdale is back down FM 486 through the San Gabriel community to FM 908.
Colwell said construction is expected to begin within three to five years.
He said the six-month inspection of the 12-foot-wide, one-lane bridge was fast approaching but was moved up due to last month’s Nocturnal Fest at the adjacent Apache Pass, citing “safety concerns.”