Who constructed the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge?

Rio Grande Gorge Bridge

The Rio Grande Gorge Bridge: Do you want to learn more about the Rio Grande Gorge’s history? We have a special place in our hearts for the Gorge because we spend so much of our time on the Rio Grande River. A 50-mile-long canyon known as the Rio Grande Gorge starts close to the boundary between New Mexico and Colorado and ends just southeast of Taos, New Mexico. This spectacular geological feature, well recognised for its distinctive whitewater thrills, also has tremendous ecological, historical, and cultural value in the area.

Introduction to the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge

The Rio Grande Gorge Bridge was finished in 1965, and it serves as a prominent representative of New Mexico’s transportation infrastructure. Governor Jack M. Campbell approved state funds to finance the bridge’s construction after New Mexican political authorities advocated for a crossing to connect the Four Corners region to northeastern New Mexico via an expansion of US Route 64. The 1,280ft. long and 36ft.

wide bridge was formerly recognised in a survey as one of the highest-ranked bridges in the United States in 1987. For its design and craftsmanship, the bridge was later added to the National Register of Historic Places. The Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, the eleventh-highest bridge in the United States, now has one of the largest steel truss decks in New Mexico.

The Rio Grande Gorge Bridge was built in a collaborative effort by the New Mexico State Highway Department’s Bridge Design Section, American Bridge Company, and J.H. Ryan and Son, Inc. of Albuquerque, New Mexico. The bridge, which is part of US Route 64, was built between 1963 and 1965.

The bridge’s entire construction cost was around $2.15 million. The bridge is roughly 1,280 feet long and 36 feet broad. The bridge’s foundation is made up of two U-shaped reinforced concrete abutments on spread footings and two piers with concrete columns extending 80 feet from the ground. The bridge has three spans: a 600-foot core span and two 300-foot spans. Each side has a span.

Since its construction, the exact height of the bridge from the bottom of the Rio Grande Valley has been debated, but since its inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places, it has been said that the bridge is 650 feet tall, and that number has been frequently used for the bridge. Some persons and articles claim the bridge is 600 feet tall.

The deck of the bridge is made of a lightweight concrete-filled steel grid floor. A two-lane, 28-foot-wide highway with a concrete curb and two four-foot sidewalks on either side is included on the 36-foot-wide truss deck. Small observation decks are located in the bridge’s centre, and the sidewalks are bordered and barricaded with steel to protect pedestrians from the road.

Following WWII, many New Mexican political leaders lobbied for the construction of a bridge that would connect the Four Corners region to northern New Mexico by an extension of US Route 64. In 1962, Jack M. Campbell, the newly elected governor of New Mexico, authorised state bonds to fund the bridge’s construction.

Engineers were concerned with devising a design that would be sturdy enough to sustain the loads involved with shipping along a federal route while also being able to endure the heavy winds that swept down the valley. Due to protests from local sheep herders, the engineers who planned to create the deck with an open grid were forced to switch to a lightweight concrete-filled grid during construction.

The herders were concerned about shepherding their livestock across the bridge. Engineers were also concerned that tourists would feel uneasy staring through the bridge’s deck.

When the bridge was finished, it extended US Route 64 from North Carolina in the east to Shiprock, New Mexico in the west, giving northern New Mexico its first latitudinal highway. A bridge survey in 1987 rated the bridge as one of the best in the country. The bridge was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1997 for its high level of integrity in terms of size, design, materials, and workmanship.

A plaque on the bridge honours the bridge’s construction and all those who were engaged in its construction. The bridge received a $2.4 million ‘facelift’ in 2012, which involved repairing the steelwork and adding new gutters, ramps, curbs and walkways. In addition, a new cement deck surface was installed on the bridge. The Rio Grande Gorge Bridge currently boasts one of the largest steel truss decks in New Mexico and is the eleventh-highest bridge in the United States.

Rio grande gorge bridge facts

Puebloans and other Southwestern peoples relied on and enjoyed the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge just as much as we do now. There are numerous petroglyphs or ancient rock art sites along the gorge walls that have been left by mankind for thousands of years! The river is known by various names in various native languages, including Posoge, which means “big” or “great” river in Tewa. The most well-known term, Rio Grande, which means “big river” in Spanish, was coined in the early 16th century when the Spanish began colonising Northern New Mexico.

Naturally, Rio Grande History

Millions of years ago, this area of New Mexico was through numerous geological changes, including earthquakes and lava flows, which resulted in the formation of the “Rio Grande Rift Valley.” The river followed the valley’s path, carving it deeper and deeper over time to become the gorge we know today.

The Bridge of John Dunn

The John Dunn Bridge is well known as the starting point for the stunning full-day Lower Taos Box excursion, or as a terrific site to spend an afternoon fishing, rock climbing, or bathing in hot springs. You might be surprised to learn that the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge has a rich history. This region was also lively with pubs, restaurants, and hotels in the early 1900s, where visitors stopped to bathe and relax after their long trips in the West. Today’s bridge is the third of its kind, dating back to the 1930s!

Rio Grande River Protection

The Rio Grande Gorge Bridge was one of eight rivers included in President Lyndon B. Johnson’s initial National Wild and Scenic River Act in 1968. This conservation designation insured that rivers protected by the act would remain undamaged and free-flowing in order to conserve the area’s ecological and historic integrity.

The historical, cultural, and environmental importance of our magnificent canyon was further safeguarded in 2013 with the establishment of the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument by the Obama administration.

The Rio Grande’s Recreation

The Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, located ten miles northwest of Taos on Highway 64, hovers 650 feet over the gorge and provides breathtaking views.

The Wild River Recreation Area at Questa, New Mexico, located at the junction of the Rio Grande and Red Rivers, offers beautiful vistas and fantastic hiking trails as you explore the 800-foot gorge.

Orilla Verde Recreation Area near Pilar, New Mexico, offers excellent options for boating, hiking, fishing, camping, and simply relaxing by the river.

Driving Directions to the Rio Grande

Follow US Highway 64/New Mexico State Road 522 north for roughly 3.5 miles to the town’s final four-way crossroads. Take a left onto US Highway 64 West. Travel approximately 8 miles. Cross the bridge, and the parking lot will be on your left.


Where can I visit the bridge across the Rio Grande Gorge?

the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge in El Prado, New Mexico, for pictures
Parking at the Rio Grande Gorge Rest Area offers the best access to the bridge, which has sidewalks and gorge views on both sides. capture the route south of the rest area a short distance to one of the views along the rim in order to capture pictures of the bridge and gorge.

What truss is in killers who were born to kill?

Bridge over the Taos Gorge
The Taos Gorge Bridge, which spans the Rio Grande seven miles north of Taos proper, is the location of the wedding between Mickey Knox (Woody Harrelson) and Mallory (Juliette Lewis).

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