Post-World War II Bridges: Innovations and Leadership

The Texas Historical Commission (THC) is working with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) and the Historic Bridge Foundation (HBF) to share the stories of the evolving bridge technology from the decades following World War II. From 1945 to 1965, engineers in Texas worked with new materials and construction methods to develop innovative approaches to bridge design. Some bridges from this time period are the earliest examples of technology eventually adopted as national standards or that served as important steps toward a better understanding of steel and concrete. Learn more about this period in bridge building here.

More than 100 of these bridges have been determined eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places, but many of them are not good candidates for long-term preservation. In an effort to streamline federal and state regulatory review, THC, TxDOT, and HBF sought public input about which are the most significant of the bridges and hosted open houses in July and August 2014.

Here are tables of bridges determined eligible for listing in the National Register. A preliminary map lets you explore them by location. They are broken into three groups in tiered levels of significance based on conversations between the THC, TxDOT, and HBF. To find out more about what gives a bridge significance, the photo gallery below features good examples of the various technologies and construction methods introduced and explored during the Post-World War II era. 

The feedback we received over the summer 2015 was in support of the tiered, grouping approach, which will inform TxDOT about preservation priorities for these bridges. Please let us know what you think.