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Texas | Architecture | Bridges

1932
WINCHELL BRIDGE
Colorado River


Winchell, Texas

Brown County
McCulloch County


By Judy McBride

Photos courtesy Judy McBride & Barclay Gibson

The Winchell Bridge is easily seen from Highway 377 as you cross the Colorado River at Winchell. Connecting McCulloch and Brown counties, this older structure is distinctive for its triple camelback design. Although it was removed from service in 1987, its graceful lines are worth a glance upriver to admire it.

Winchell Bridge over Colorago River, Texas
1932 Colorado River through truss bridge at Winchell
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, December 2007

Completed in 1932 by the Austin Bridge Co., the bridge narrowly survived the record high flood of 1936, which washed out the nearby railroad bridge. Designed with three through truss camelback structures, the center truss measures 200 in length and each end truss is 110. Including the approaches, the total length was originally 848.2 feet.

This bridge was condemned in 1987 and a new concrete bridge was built next to it. Brown and McCulloch Counties signed a joint maintenance resolution at that time, each county being responsible for repairs to their half, including removal of tall vegetation under the bridge and spot painting to protect bridge joints and cover graffiti. To prevent access to the old structure, about 60 feet of approach was removed from each end.

Winchell Bridge over Colorago River, Texas
South end of the Colorado River through truss bridge at Winchell, missing 60' of approach, with exposed end.
Photo courtesy Judy McBride, January 2008

My thanks to Andrew Chisholm, environmental specialist with the Brownwood District Office of the Texas Dept. of Transportation, for his assistance with this article.

Judy McBride
January 2008

End of the condemned Winchell Bridge , Texas
1932 Winchell Colorado River through truss bridge with exposed end
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, December 2007

Condemned Winchell Bridge , Texas
The other exposed end of the Winchell through truss bridge
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, December 2007


Overlooking Winchell Bridge, Colorago River, Texas
Another view of the Winchell through truss bridge
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, December 2007


Winchell Bridge over Colorago River, Texas
The Winchell Bridge over The Colorado River
Photo courtesy Judy McBride, January 2008

More Texas Bridges

Forum
Subject: Winchell's Old Bridge on the Colorado

My grandmother Anna Shackelford and her husband Guy currently reside in Winchell. There is a long dirt road from Winchell that leads to her house by a small canyon near the Colorado river. There is another dirt road that leads from her house out into the woods. On several visits I walked down this road and came upon an old bridge foundation that at one time was a bridge for Winchell school kids, but is now just two large stone structures on both sides of the river. There is also what appears to be the foundation of a home or a store below the one of the stone piers. It is a very quiet and undisturbed place. I've always wondered about that bridge, what happened to it and if anybody has any memories of it? - Lance Carthen, January 31, 2007



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