Another bridge crossing the Sabine River is scheduled to be replaced within the next year. Burr’s Ferry Bridge, a kind of strangely attractive bridge which crosses between Newton County in Texas (Tx. Hwy. 63) and Vernon Parish in Louisiana (La. Hwy. 8), will soon be replaced.
I actually “met” Burr’s Ferry Bridge for the first time ever just a few weeks ago. I had seen photos of it before, and was pleasantly surprised that it was still around, figuring based on the pictures that it had been replaced (I can’t really say why I thought that, I guess because it just has an old-fashioned bygone look to it).
Architecturally, the Burr’s Ferry Bridge is a Parker through truss bridge (some times interchangeably called a camelback truss bridge). Parker truss bridge is a Pratt truss design with a polygonal upper chord. These bridges include vertical members and diagonals that slope down towards the center.
According to BridgeHunter.com, the total length of the bridge is 1,882 feet, with 27 ft. deck width and 12.4 ft. vertical clearance above the deck. The most recent appraisal notes the bridge is “functionally obsolete” (there are just a few over 1,000 of this type bridge remaining in the U.S.), and its most recent sufficiency rating was 45.4 out of 100 (still much better than the 15 out of 100 given to the bridge further north over the Sabine River from Logansport, Louisiana to Joaquin, Texas).
As of 2011, an estimated average of 1,200 vehicles cross the bridge each day.
The bridge was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1998.
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, design work for a new bridge began last year and construction is expected to begin some time next year.
The replacement of the bridge is part of the Gulf Coast Strategic Highway Coalition, which includes the widening of La. 28 from two lanes two four lanes between Leesville and Alexandria.
The Gulf Coast Strategic Highway System, according to its website, is being pursued to meet the military transportation needs of U. S. Army and National Guard facilities in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi– facilities which deploy and return combat equipment through Gulf Coast seaports. Specifically, the new bridge is expected to provide a better transportation link between Fort Polk and Fort Hood, “significantly improving deployment and mobility efficiency for both bases,” said Fort Polk Progress Chairman Michael Reese.