The Congress Avenue Bridge is a historic covered bridge in Austin, Texas. It is located at Congress Ave., Austin, TX 78704. The bridge was built by the Austin City Council and opened to traffic on December 1, 1894. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is one of only two covered bridges left in Austin. The Congress Avenue Bridge is also notable for being one of the first municipal covered bridges in the United States. The bridge crosses Walnut Creek, a tributary of Shoal Creek, and has been designated an Historic Civil Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Civil Engineers. A great post.
How was the Congress Avenue Bridge built?
The Congress Avenue Bridge was built using the Burr arch design. The structure is built of stone, has a length of and a width of . Its deck is made of wood, and it is covered with a metal roof. The bridge rests atop a stone abutment that is wide and high. The abutment is made of limestone, and has been reinforced with concrete. When the bridge was first built, both abutments were made of limestone, but the Walnut Creek side was later reinforced with concrete to support the bridge and prevent Walnut Creek from eroding the bridge foundations. At the time of its construction, the bridge was the longest covered bridge in the United States. An Austin newspaper from 1895 described the bridge as “a magnificent structure.” While the bridge is still in use today, the Walnut Creek valley has experienced severe erosion that has caused the Walnut Creek side of the bridge to sink approximately , and the bridge deck to sag and crack. See This Article.
Why is the Congress Avenue Bridge historic?
The Congress Avenue Bridge is significant as one of only two surviving municipal covered bridges in Austin (the other bridge is the Barton Creek Bridge). The bridge is also one of the first municipal covered bridges in the United States. The first covered bridges were built in Europe more than a thousand years ago, but they did not become a common sight in the United States until the late 1800s. A cover protects the deck from the elements and allows for transportation in inclement weather. Austin’s Congress Avenue Bridge is one of the oldest surviving municipal covered bridges in the United States, and one of only a handful that are still in use. The bridge’s historic significance is further exemplified by its designation as a Historic Civil Engineering Landmark. The Congress Avenue Bridge is significant for its association as part of Austin’s municipal infrastructure and as a contributing element to the Central Business District.
Who uses the Congress Avenue Bridge today?
Today, the Austin Transportation Department (ATD) maintains the Congress Avenue Bridge. The bridge is a popular recreational destination for walkers, runners, bikers, and skaters. The bridge also sees use by ATV riders and is used as an access point to Walnut Creek. ATD has begun to actively restore the Walnut Creek side of the bridge, and is working to stabilize the Austin side of the bridge.
The Congress Avenue Bridge is an iconic structure in Austin, and a symbol of the city’s history and transportation. The bridge remains an important component of Austin’s transportation network, and is a popular recreational destination for walkers, runners, bikers, and skaters. Austin is also working to stabilize the Walnut Creek side of the bridge, and is actively restoring the Austin side of the bridge. The Congress Avenue Bridge is a great way to get outside and explore Austin!