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Bluff Dale Suspension Bridge facts for kids

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Bluff Dale Suspension Bridge
Bluff Dale Bridge (1 of 1).jpg
Bluff Dale bridge, as seen from the modern bridge that has replaced it for vehicle traffic.
Coordinates 32°21′14″N 98°1′34″W / 32.35389°N 98.02611°W / 32.35389; -98.02611
Carries Pedestrian way on County Road 49 (Berry's Creek Rd.)
Crosses Paluxy River
Locale Berry's Creek Rd.,
Bluff Dale, Texas
Owner Erath County
Design Cable-stayed
Material Wrought iron
Total length 200 feet (61 m)
Width 13 feet (4.0 m)
Longest span 140 feet (43 m)
Number of spans 3
Piers in water 2
Designer Edwin Elijah Runyon
Construction begin 1890
Construction end 1890
Bluff Dale Bridge
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Area 1 acre (0.40 ha)
NRHP reference No. 77001440
Significant dates
Added to NRHP December 20, 1977

The Bluff Dale Bridge is a historic cable-stayed bridge (not a suspension bridge) located near Bluff Dale, Texas, United States. Built in 1891, the bridge spans 225 feet (69 m) across the Paluxy River. The road deck is 28 feet (8.5 m) above the river and held in place by fourteen one-inch cables attached to the towers made of nine-inch iron pipe.


The bridge was originally constructed across the river on a dirt road that became Texas State Highway 10, which is now U.S. Route 377. In 1933, a new bridge was built to handle the increasing traffic on U.S. 377. The old bridge was relocated upstream in 1934 1.5 miles (2.4 km) and extended from 200 to 225 feet (61 to 69 m).

The bridge was added to the National Register of Historic Places on December 20, 1977. The bridge is on Preservation Texas' 2009 list of most endangered places due to its poor condition and lack of funds for restoration. It was closed to vehicular traffic in 1989 because of its advanced state of deterioration.

Structure type

Despite the name given in Historic American Engineering Record documentation, the Bluff Dale Suspension Bridge is actually a cable-stayed structure. Its deck is suspended from multiple layers of stay cables radiating from the towers, some terminating at the deck and others running continuously from one tower to the other. This pattern of cables was established in designer Edwin Elijah Runyon's first U.S. patent, No. 394,940. It is known as one of only two examples of Runyon's patents, along with the Barton Creek Bridge in Huckabay, Texas. Its hand-twisted wire cable and non-traditional use of wrought-iron pipe components make it a notable example of vernacular American bridge construction.

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