The Carpenter’s Bluff Bridge has seen over a century of traffic crossing over the Red River between Oklahoma and Texas. The original iron bridge carried trains and cars before the railroad turned it over to the two states for automobile use.
The side of the bridge that handled car traffic has been closed for quite a while to all except foot traffic.
That side of the bridge is not paved and has boards that creek when they are walked on.
The entire bridge has made noises for decades as cars passed across it.
The other side, originally for the railroad, was converted for automobiles to use.
Wagons, then cars along with foot traffic was charged a toll by the railroad when they crossed the bridge originally.
The old iron bridge built in 1910 is historical and will be converted to foot traffic exclusively later this year.
According to Oklahoma Department of Transportation officials, the old bridge will be barricaded with concrete blocks to keep vehicles away.
Workers have connected both sides of the bridge to the bank of the river.
The Oklahoma side is fully paved while the Texas side has the foundation ready, but it’s not paved yet.
The new bridge should come in at a little over $7 million when complete.
Each state picked up half the costs for the bridge construction.
According to sources, Bryan County Oklahoma will be responsible for the bridge’s upkeep.
The contract calls for 300 construction days total till the project is completed.
It’s scheduled to be completed later this year.
According to historical records, Carpenter’s Bluff was named after a ferry operator named Carpenter. The town dates from approximately 1860.
After the Civil War, many colorful characters visited and congregated there. The town was named “Thiefneck” for a time because of those unsavory characters.
They decided to clean up the city and the name Carpenter’s Bluff stuck.
Originally build for the MO&G Railroad, the bridge was designed to withstand major floods like the one that destroyed many bridges just two years before it’s construction. It had a “wagon shelf” which was an extra lane for wagons.
In 1921 the bridge transferred to the Texas & Pacific Railroad who then deeded it to the counties.
The bridge became joint property of Grayson County Texas and Bryan County Oklahoma in 1966.
Contact Dan Pennington at (580) 634-2162 or [email protected]