Colorado River Bridge (Union Pacific Railroad)

The Missouri Pacific Railroad bridge over the Colorado River in Austin, Texas was constructed in 1936.

The first crossing was constructed by the International-Great Northern Railroad (IGN) that existed from Hearne to Longview.1 The IGN was extended to Rockdale in 1874 and south Austin on December 28, 1876. To access Austin, the IGN constructed a wrought-iron double intersection Pratt through truss built on limestone piers over the Colorado River in 1881.2

Jay Gould acquired control of the IGN and the company was leased to the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railway Company (MK&T, Katy) for a period of 99 years beginning June 1, 1881.1 The lease was cancelled on March 2, 1888 and the line remained the IG&N until May 1, 1901 when it became a part of the Calvert, Waco & Brazos Valley Railroad (CW&B). The Colorado River bridge was partially replaced in 1904 when the superstructure was removed and replaced with the current plate girder superstructure.2 The work shortened the original span length when new concrete piers and abutments were built.

The CW&B was put into receivership in 1908 and a new company, the International & Great Northern Railway Company (I&GN) purchased the foreclosed company in 1911. The I&GN lasted until 1922 when a new company was chartered: the International-Great Northern Railroad Company (IGN).1 The new IGN became a part of Missouri Pacific (MP) in January 1925 when the MP sought out the railroad after it was nearly taken over by a rival, the St. Louis-San Francisco Railway. The IGN and MP were independent operations until March 1, 1956 when the the IGN was sold to the MP. In 1981, the MP was merged with the Union Pacific Railroad.