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Rainbow Bridge

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1938, George Wickline, engineer; Ashe, Howard, Needles and Tammen, consulting engineers. TX 87/73 and the Neches River

Rising out of the flat coastal plain along the corridor of petrochemical plants where the Neches River empties into Sabine Lake, this cantilever steel-truss highway bridge has 177 feet of vertical clearance and 600 feet of horizontal clearance. The main spans are supported on reverse-tapered, pyramidal steel-truss towers. When it opened in 1938, Rainbow Bridge was the tallest highway bridge spanning tidal waters in the nation. Built with an appropriation from the PWA, the bridge was such a compelling landmark that the neighboring Orange County settlement of Prairie View changed its name to Bridge City. Between 1988 and 1991, the Texas Department of Transportation built Veterans Memorial Bridge, a dramatically profiled, steel-cable-stayed, segmental concrete bridge alongside Rainbow Bridge. Veterans Bridge has only 143 feet of vertical clearance. Rainbow Bridge was rehabilitated between 1992 and 1996.

Writing Credits

Gerald Moorhead et al.


What's Nearby


Gerald Moorhead et al., "Rainbow Bridge", [Port Arthur, Texas], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Texas

Buildings of Texas: Central, South, and Gulf Coast, Gerald Moorhead and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2013, 381-381.

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