The State Highway 78 Bridge at the Red River consists of eight riveted K-truss through spans, with two camelback pony truss spans at each end. With an overall length of 2,108 feet, the bridge provides a crossing over the Red River between Fannin County, Texas and Bryan County, Oklahoma, on State Highway 78. SH 78 was a short route of about 85 miles that originally extended from Garland, a suburb of Dallas, to Bonham, the Fannin County seat. By 1933, the route was extended north into Oklahoma. The Red River bridge links Bonham in Fannin County with Durant in Bryan County.
The State Highway 78 Bridge at the Red River was constructed in 1937 and 1938 with emergency relief funds. As a National Recovery Secondary (NRS) project, the Red River bridge construction was funded almost entirely with federal emergency funds authorized under Section 204, Title II, of the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933. This legislation provided federal monies to supplement state highway funds that the Depression had severely curtailed. By providing additional federal aid, NIRA helped to maintain highway construction spending at pre-Depression levels.
The Red River bridge replaced a suspension bridge that collapsed in January 1934. According to the April 12, 1959 issued of The Daily Oklahoman, "On January 15, 1934, a norther of terrific force came up which caused the swinging bridge to fall. At 1 a.m. the wire cables on the Fannin [County] side of the river became twisted, then snapped, broken in half, and the entire massive structure crashed to the river below - a complete wreck."
Construction on the new bridge began on February 16, 1937.
Red River Bridge. Built in 1938 by the Texas Highway Department and the Oklahoma Highway Commission.
United States Bureau of Public Roads.
Texas Highway Commission
Robert Lee Bobbitt Chairman
John Wood Member
Harry Hines Member
Kansas City Bridge Co.
A Texas-shaped state boundary marker at the bridge entrance marks the interstate crossing. A bronze plaque affixed to a concrete monument contains the text above.