Skip to Content

Houma-Freeport Bridge Relocation

Promo Icon 2 Updated

A railroad bridge in Freeport, TX, built in 1914, was in advanced stages of deterioration and needed to be replaced. Another railroad bridge, an abandoned structure in Houma, LA, would make a suitable, if not perfect, substitute, provided it could be moved to Freeport. The UPRR sought to solve both problems with one solution: replace the worn-out bridge with the usable, abandoned bridge. 

Modjeski and Masters (M&M), designers of the Houma Bridge in the early 1980s, was asked to study the feasibility of moving the structure to several other locations. The prospect of being fined by the U.S. Coast Guard for not removing the Houma Bridge and the need to replace the Freeport swing span prompted the UPRR to make their decision; they hired M&M for the study on this latest proposed move. The feasibility of the movement was positive due to the following factors:

  • The Intracoastal Waterway from Houma all the way to Freeport was found satisfactory for clearances and lock sizes for the transport,
  • The Houma bridge can be left in major sections, i.e., lift span, sections of towers, counterweights, etc. and floated on barges to Freeport,
  • Heavy lift equipment is available at both sites, and
  • The major work items for this relocation include a new electrical system (vandalized), clean-up machinery, and new foundations.

The newly relocated bridge provides a 250-plus-foot channel width with a vertical clearance of 69 feet. The project was funded by UPRR.

For more information, see our project documentary film on YouTube:

Bridge Geometry
Length of Main Span 258 Feet
Vertical Clearance 69 Feet
Tracks on Structure One
Distance to be Moved 335 miles by ICW

I think they do an excellent job of evaluating whatever problem we have and then coming up with a good solution for it.

-Butch Lunsford, Manager of Structures Projects, Union Pacific Railroad