Historic Bridges in Houston

Houston bridges span not only waterways and freeways, they also connect the city’s past and present. From the littler bridges built to expedite commerce and connect communities in the centre of the city, to the electrifying structures built in the port district, bridges in Houston reflect the unique culture of the town. There is a list right below for you to pick and choose at least one bridge to visit while in Houston. Have fun!

The Sidney Sherman Bridge

AKA the Loop 610 Ship Channel Bridge, the Sidney Sherman Bridge spans the Houston Ship Channel southeast of downtown. It was named after a colonel in the Republic of Texas Military, Sidney Sherman, a leading advocate for improvements to the Houston Ship Channel. The strutted girder bridge, constructed of steel and concrete, opened on March 2, 1973. The main span of the bridge is 600 feet long and 10 lanes wide. Its traffic volume as of 2001 averaged one hundred twenty two thousand autos each day. Native Houston folk price this bridge for its view of the Houston Ship Channel, particularly after sundown when the twinkling lights of the business section of the town may be seen in the distance.

Sam Houston Tollway Ship Channel Bridge

Previously called the Jesse H. Jones Memorial Bridge, this bridge crosses the Houston Ship Channel at Beltway 8 to the east of downtown Houston. The cantilevered concrete box girder bridge opened in 1982 with a main span length of 7 hundred and fifty feet. Though its design might seem unassuming and minimalist compared with other major Houston bridges, the Sam Houston Tollway Ship Channel Bridge is among the most highly travelled. Its 4 traffic lanes saw more than twenty-eight thousand cars a day in 2002.

San Jacinto Street Bridge

This open spandrel arch bridge was built in 1914 to span Buffalo Bayou in the center of downtown Houston. It was rehabilitated in 1995. With a length of three hundred and twenty-five feet, the San Jacinto Street Bridge is an element of the one-way, northward bound road; southerly bound traffic must employ the Fannin Street Bridge. This is worth a stop by.

Fred Hartman Bridge

The Fred Hartman Bridge connects the communities of LaPorte and Baytown. Outside Houston correct, though still in the Houston metropolitan area, this steel, cable-stayed bridge is eight traffic lanes wide. It was built in 1995. As of 2008, its median daily traffic exceeded 30 thousand vehicles per day. The Fred Hartman stretches across the Houston Ship Channel, making a stunning visual statement with its diamond-shaped towers.

McKee Street Bridge

Found in Houston’s Warehouse District, the design of McKee Street Bridge shows equal proportions history and whimsy. The bridge is on the Nation's Significant Register. Engineer James Gordon McKenzie built the girder bridge in 1932. Made of fortified concrete, the girders continue their curves above the highway, making for a weird but pleasing shape. In an urban reclamation project, an artist named Kirk Farris painted the McKee Street Bridge using bright reds and blues, adding multiple, bulbous light fittings that add to its eccentric appearance.

Shawn Shawshank has been interested in Houston landmarks for a few years. He has written op-eds and editorial pieces for many online publications. For more details about Houston bridges please visit his site.

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