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The photographs of San Antonio and Dignowity Hill used within this blog are the property of Juan A Garcia East Light Images. All rights are reserved to the owner. Copy and use of these pictures is forbidden without written permission. Contact Juan at for permission.

Friday, June 27, 2008

An Old Bridge

There's an old bridge in our neighborhood. Looking down Hays Street from Dignowity Hill one can glimpse at the trusses of iron of the old Hays Street Bridge. If you're into bridge engineering and history, the bridge is actually two different iron truss bridges linked together, a “whipple” and a “phoenix” style trusses. Records of the Phoenix Bridge Company show that the Whipple truss dates from 1881 and was reconstructed from one or more salvaged spans over the Nueces River west of San Antonio. Sometime between 1908 and 1910 the bridge was moved and reconstructed as a viaduct over the railroad tracks to allow residents of the Eastside to cross over the railroad tracks safely into downtown San Antonio. As a kid growing up in San Antonio I remember riding across the old bridge in Pop's '55 Chevy station wagon. Time and neglect took their toll on the old bridge and in 1982 the bridge was permanently barricaded and closed to vehicular traffic. In 1983 the city came up with a plan to replace the structure with another bridge, fortunately for the bridge and us, the plan fell through. In the late 1990's Nettie Hinton, a long time Dignowity Hill resident, circulated a petition to help save the old Bridge from being dismantled. The Hays Street Bridge Restoration Group has worked diligently to help save the old bridge and find funding for the project.

Today the old bridge proudly stands ready for its next life as a restored link between downtown and the Eastside. In 2001 $2.89 million federal funds were committed to rehabilitate the bridge as part of a hike and bike trail and restore the bridge as a key link to our neighborhood and downtown. In late 2007 the city and Union Pacific reached an agreement allowing the city to take control of the historic bidge. Well, here we are July 2008 and the old bridge still sits waiting, waiting and waiting for restoration to begin. What's the hold up? I'm sure there are legitimate reasons why this project hasn't moved but come on.....lets get serious. With all the hotel and condo construction going on a few blocks south of the bridge as well as increased revitalization activity in the Dignowity Hill area, I think its time that this project show some visible life. So if anyone in charge of this project should read this posting please shoot me an email or post a comment it would be nice to hear from you. I really would like be able to walk or ride my bike across the restored old bridge in my lifetime.

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