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Bridge dispute put Texas, Oklahoma in troubled waters (OPINION)

Bridge dispute put Texas, Oklahoma in troubled waters (OPINION)

Lubbock Avalanche-Journal
By Dr. Ken Bridges
Posted Aug 24, 2019 at 3:36 PM  

Texas and Oklahoma have had a rivalry for many years. Generations of bad jokes and good-natured ribbing has sprung up because of it, and it has filled many afternoons of college football. But in one bizarre incident in the summer of 1931, this rivalry almost exploded into violence. And it was all about a toll bridge over the Red River.

The Red River Toll Bridge Company had operated a toll bridge over the Red River for several years on the combined U. S. Highways 69 and 75, just a few miles northwest of Denison. It was a narrow, two-lane blacktop, but it was one of the new U. S. Highways bringing paved roads to a nation buying new cars by the millions. Both Texas and Oklahoma owned the bridge and took modest cuts of the tolls to pay it off. By 1931, both states had built a new, stronger bridge nearby – toll-free.

The new bridge was slated to open that summer when the toll bridge company filed a lawsuit against the Texas Highway commission. A year before, Texas had agreed to buy the toll bridge since the company, which was based in Texas, would be going out of business with the opening of the free bridge. Texas offered $60,000 for the bridge, but because of sharp funding drops with the Great Depression, the state had only paid a fraction of the cost. A federal judge agreed that Texas was in breach of contract and ordered the opening of the new bridge stopped until the state paid its bill... FULL ARTICLE

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