Modjeski and Masters was contracted by the Texas and New Orleans Railroad Company to prepare a study, recommendations, and final plans for a new Pecos River High Bridge to replace the existing structure (shown in this photo). Since World War II was in full swing, steel was considered very critical to the war effort, so the design had to utilize the material as efficiently as possible to safely span the Pecos River Canyon.
Construction commenced in September 1943 at a site 440 feet downstream from the 1892 bridge (shown on the right side of the photo for reference). The substructure would feature six reinforced concrete piers comprised of over 15,000 cubic yards of concrete. The two main river piers would be over 257 feet tall.
Construction of the new bridge superstructure commenced in May 1944. The main deck truss and approach girder spans featured 2,700 tons of structural metalwork.
The Sunset Limited was the first train to cross when the bridge was opened to mainline traffic on December 21, 1944. The bridge was recognized as the "Most Beautiful Steel Bridge" by the American Institute of Steel Construction.