Debate Rages over 88 Year-Old Bridge in Potter County

A bridge that has been here since the decade before the great depression does not officially exist according to state transportation records.

It's been several years since emergency vehicles could get to a few houses on Dewey Avenue in Walnut Hills because of a deteriorating bridge.

"We've looked at numerous ways to take are of this issue and it keeps coming back," said Potter County Judge Arthur Ware.

The origins of the bridge are unverified but residents around here say they believe it was built in 1921.

In fact the Texas Historical Commission didn't even know it existed until 1998.

That's when they said it's only the 6th string-bow pony truss bridge in the state.

1998 is also the year Potter County took jurisdiction of the bridge and roads in Walnut Hills.

But until this week they had never told TxDOT who is responsible for all public bridge inspections.

So now the bridge desperately needs improvements.

"A Bridge has to be on the state system in order for it to qualify for federal funding," said Paul Braun, the Public Information Officer for TxDOT.

And as of now, the bridge is not, meaning it could be some time before repairs can begin.

"That could take anywhere from one to three years," Braun said.

The homeowners are working to get the bridge designated as a historical land mark, which could throw another kink in the plans.

"If we could get the historical commission and TxDOT to come together and agree on something, we could possibly put the bridge back in a condition that would satisfy those residents," said Judge Ware.