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Rainbow Bridge (Texas)

The Rainbow Bridge is a through truss bridge crossing the Neches River in Southeast Texas just upstream from Sabine Lake. It allows State Highway 87 and State Highway 73 to connect Port Arthur in Jefferson County on the southwest bank of the river with Bridge City in Orange County on the northeast bank.

Port Arthur-Orange Bridge
RainbowBridge (Texas).jpg
Westbound approach to Rainbow Bridge
Port Arthur-Orange Bridge is located in Texas
Port Arthur-Orange Bridge
Port Arthur-Orange Bridge
Port Arthur-Orange Bridge is located in the United States
Port Arthur-Orange Bridge
Port Arthur-Orange Bridge
LocationSH 87 at the Jefferson and Orange county line
Coordinates29°58′47″N 93°52′18″W / 29.97972°N 93.87167°W / 29.97972; -93.87167Coordinates: 29°58′47″N 93°52′18″W / 29.97972°N 93.87167°W / 29.97972; -93.87167
Area4.8 acres (1.9 ha)
Built1936 (1936)
Built byUninon Bridge & Construction, Fort Pitt Bridge Works, et al.
Architectural styleCantilever through truss
MPSHistoric Bridges of Texas MPS
NRHP reference #96001127[1]
Added to NRHPOctober 10, 1996
Rainbow Bridge at Sunset
Westbound approach to Rainbow Bridge in Orange County, Texas
Looking at Rainbow Bridge on its northwest side in Port Arthur, Jefferson County, Texas
Driving eastbound on the Veterans Memorial Bridge in Jefferson County, Texas

Construction on the bridge began in 1936 under the guidance of the Texas State Highway Department. Due to concerns by the upstream city of Beaumont about the bridge posing a threat to ship navigation, the Rainbow Bridge was built with a 680-foot (210 m) main span. In addition, it has a vertical clearance of 177 ft (54 m),[2] which was intended to allow what was at the time the tallest ship in the US Navy, USS Patoka, passage under the bridge (however, Patoka never did). However, the height of the bridge did allow the construction of jack up offshore drilling rigs at the Bethlehem Steel Beaumont Shipyard. With seventy-two (72) rigs built, the shipyard was one of the major sources of offshore rigs built in the United States.[3]

The bridge was completed on September 8, 1938. The nearby town of Prairie View took on the name "Bridge City" in response. Initially named the Port Arthur-Orange Bridge, it received its current name in 1957. The bridge was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1996.

Veterans Memorial BridgeEdit

In 1988, construction began on the Veterans Memorial Bridge, a cable-stayed bridge. This bridge runs parallel to the Rainbow Bridge, and was dedicated on September 8, 1990.[4] With a vertical clearance of 143 feet (44 m), the bridge is somewhat shorter than its neighbor.[5]

After the completion of the Veterans Memorial Bridge, the Rainbow Bridge was closed for renovations. On its re-opening in 1997,[6] the Rainbow Bridge became one way, handling westbound traffic only. The Veterans Memorial Bridge serves eastbound traffic.[7]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. November 2, 2013.
  2. ^ "TxDOT Trivia and General Facts". 7 October 2006. Archived from the original on 7 October 2006.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  3. ^ "Drilling Rigs Built in U.S.Shipyards". Retrieved November 9, 2015.
  4. ^ "History of Our Bridges". City of Bridge City. Retrieved 2013-06-14.
  5. ^ "Bridge City Texas". Retrieved 2011-08-19.
  6. ^ "Rainbow Bridge (Texas)".
  7. ^


External linksEdit

  Media related to Rainbow Bridge at Wikimedia Commons