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The almost-forgotten bridges of Bee County
by Bill Clough
Sep 01, 2012 | 1145 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Turning leaves glow over the bridge west of Normanna on County Road 104 as vines slowly reclaim the girders.
Turning leaves glow over the bridge west of Normanna on County Road 104 as vines slowly reclaim the girders.
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The Southern Pacific Railroad bridge on US 59 east of Beeville. The tracks and ties were removed.
The Southern Pacific Railroad bridge on US 59 east of Beeville. The tracks and ties were removed.
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An abandoned bridge near Farm-to-Market Road 673 rusts away after the highway was moved in the early 1970s. The bridge, surrounded by large trees and vines, cannot be seen from the highway.
An abandoned bridge near Farm-to-Market Road 673 rusts away after the highway was moved in the early 1970s. The bridge, surrounded by large trees and vines, cannot be seen from the highway.
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A one-lane bridge soaks up the sun on a county road west of Pettus.
A one-lane bridge soaks up the sun on a county road west of Pettus.
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There’s something special about bridges. They are metaphors for change, taking things ­— automobiles, railroad cars, people ­— from one side of something to another, one status to another. Usually, they are faithful to their task, and they grow old gracefully. But when progress deems their usefulness is over, their fate usually is abandonment, baring human intercession. For the Southern Pacific Railroad bridge, on US 59, it was cheaper just to leave it alone, whereas the bridge west of Normanna was saved from destruction but then proved too expensive to maintain. It is a lovely spot for an autumn picnic. One of the last one-lane bridges in the county is showing signs of wear, but it serves to force a lesson in etiquette when two drivers approach simultaneously. Another not only was abandoned but its highway was as well. In 1971, the road from Beeville to Pawnee was re-routed. Because the old bridge now is on private land and cannot be seen from the highway, it is almost spooky, spanning a gulch from now to then, as time and nature go about their slow but incessant work of rust and decay. They were built to last; they’ll be here for a while yet. But their lifespans are growing shorter. Not surprisingly, they all seem a little sad.
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