Bridge Battle in Grayson County

10-11-05 - Grayson County closed the Anderson Road Bridge near Whitewright Monday morning, but neighbors say they won't stop fighting to keep it open.

It was built to withstand weather, war, and time, but the Anderson Road Bridge is now rusty, the boards are rotting and it is one of the oldest landmarks in the county.

It was constructed back in 1898 near the tiny community of Oxford to get folks from Grayson to Collin County.

"It's part of the charm of our area," neighbor Ralph Tanner said. "When someone comes to the area, you say, the bridge. You tell them, it's before the bridge, or after the bridge."

It's the charm of the old bridge nestled near Whitewright that neighbors like Ralph Tanner are fighting to preserve.

"It's just kind the old hometown look -- it's what a lot of us are trying to stay out here-- come out here for, the charm of the area-- the beauty of the area," Tanner said.

But county commissioner David Whitlock says the charm and beauty of the bridge doesn't make up for the years of wear.

"I have the authority to say let's leave the road open or lets close the road, and if I leave it open and somebody gets killed, I don't want to live with that," Whitlock said.

So Monday morning the signs went up to close the bridge. Whitlock says for him, it's safety over aesthetics.

The dilemma now is what to do with the old bridge. Keeping it closed is inconvenient for the folks who rely on it to get around, and for neighbors like Ralph Tanner, tearing it down just isn't an option.

"We just want to maintain the charm of our bridge and the beauty of our bridge," Tanner said.

A plan to move the bridge to a Denison park fell through since it couldn't be fully preserved in the move.

Ralph Tanner has offered his property as a place to move the bridge, but so far, commissioners have not responded to that offer.