Clifton: Historic bridge faces gloomy future

(Photo by Ke'Sha Lopez)
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CLIFTON, Texas The Clifton Whipple Truss Bridge was built in 1884, but its future Wednesday is as gloomy as the weather.

The Texas Department of Transportation has plans to close the bridge to drivers.

TxDOT spokesman Ken Roberts says the department has funds available for either demolition or preservation of the bridge as a monument and construction of a new bridge.

Both state and local officials have expressed concerns about the safety of the 133-year-old span.

TxDOT said it would cost $1.2 million to restore the bridge for just bike traffic.

A new bridge would $1.4 million but the federal government would fund 80 percent of the cost.

Some residents want this piece of history preserved.

Clifton author W. Leon Smith says the bridge was built to help farmers haul grain to what’s known as the “Old Mill.”

"There's a ton of history. The founders of our community were the ones who built that bridge and to me whenever I go across that bridge I'm going in their footsteps."

Residents plan to meet from noon to 6 p.m. Thursday at Clifton City Park to share stories of the bridge and to talk about how to spare it from demolition.