PECOS RIVER HIGHWAY BRIDGE OVERLOOK AND PECOS HIGH BRIDGE
Anyone driving Highway 90 between Del Rio and Langtry will find it necessary to cross the significant canyon gorge carved by the Pecos River. Before the mid-20th century, travelers were required to negotiate a two-lane switchback to descend the canyon walls before reaching the first highway bridge across the river, built in 1923 and destroyed by flood waters in 1954. Two temporary low water bridges were also washed away over the course of the following year. The current Pecos River Bridge is the highest highway bridge in Texas, at 1,310 feet long and originally 273 feet above the water (a measurement that now fluctuates with the rise and fall of Lake Amistad water levels). An overlook alongside a pullout on the northeast end of the bridge affords excellent views of the Pecos River canyon.
Upstream just a few miles, out of sight around a river bend, is the second iteration of perhaps the most famous bridge in Texas – the Pecos High Bridge, also known to railway enthusiasts as the Pecos Viaduct. Completed in 1892 to accommodate the southern transcontinental railroad, it was at the time the third-highest bridge in the world. The cantilevered bridge, composed of an iron and steel latticework suspended across the canyon, contained over 1,820 tons of metal. Reinforced in the 1920s, the bridge remained in service until a replacement was constructed during World War ll, another engineering marvel still in use today.