Overview

The Lower Elgin Road bridge is a Pratt through-truss bridge that spans Wilbarger Creek in Bastrop County, Texas. It was built in 1888 by the Kansas City Bridge and Iron Co. of Kansas City, Missouri as one of a group of four bridges authorized by the Bastrop County Commissioner’s Court at a total cost of $12,829.00. This website includes information about the history of this bridge, as well as its current condition.

The Lower Elgin Road bridge was in continuous, daily use from its construction in 1888 until a new bridge was built in 1997. Although the bridge was closed to vehicular traffic after the construction of the new bridge, it remained open to pedestrian traffic until the May 2015 flood caused significant damage to the decking. The County closed the bridge to all traffic as a result of this damage.

During the May 2015 flood, Wilbarger Creek crested at Elgin at 37.83 ft, which is considered to be an ‘historic crest’ (National Weather Service 2016). In October 2015, another flood occurred; the creek crested at 37.10 ft (National Weather Service 2016) at Elgin. In the first flood, the decking of the bridge was severely damaged, and the second flood exacerbated the damage from the first flood.

Several area property owners became concerned about the damaged condition of the bridge after the floods and began researching its history. This website is one of the outcomes of that research.

Information obtained from TxDOT specified that the purpose of the Lower Elgin Road bridge was to link the communities of Cedar Valley, Union Hill, and Utley with Elgin, but did not specify why it was important to link these communities. Subsequent historical research, however, indicates that the purpose of this linkage was to provide the farmers with a means of getting their crops to market and to expand the business, financial, and economic development of Elgin. Each topic included in the website provides additional information about the various facets of those goals.

A historical timeline is included here (link will open in a new window). Events listed in black are discussed on this website; events noted in red are shown for historical perspective.

A map is included here (link will open in a new window) to illustrate approximate locations of places described in this website.

May 2016