The Runnels County Commissioners tabled any action regarding the preservation or demolition of the 12 Mile Bridge during their regular meeting Tuesday.

The Runnels County Commissioners tabled any action regarding the preservation or demolition of the 12 Mile Bridge during their regular meeting Tuesday.

The bridge, which spans the Colorado River is located on County Road 129, and burned on June 18.

County Judge Barry Hilliard told the court that he has contacted the Texas Historical Commission and the Texas Department of Transportation and reported that the fate of the bridge is "up to the county."

So it is up to county commissioners to determine whether to demolish the structure, which is a charred skeleton of metal, or to preserve the site somehow and make it safe.

"It is up to us as elected officials and citizens to determine the best way to handle this," Hilliard said.

Hilliard outlined the options, either the bridge could be destroyed or that a safety fence could be built on each end, since the burned bridge is a hazard.

Precinct 1 Commissioner Robert Moore said the bridge in its present state, is extremely dangerous.

"It is in pretty bad shape," Moore said. "The fire was so hot in some sections it twisted the metal frame."

Moore called the idea of building a safety fence "a terrible idea."

"That's not going to stop them from getting in," Moore said.

Moore said restoring the bridge would simply be too costly for the county.

"It would cost $250,000 to $1 million to restore the bridge," Moore said.

Many citizens have said they would like to see a historical marker or a marker of some kind placed at the bridge, which has spanned the Colorado River since 1934.

June Harris Koch, who lives near the bridge, said that there are federal grants that may be available to restore the bridge.

Runnels County resident Larry Lusby reminded the court that "history is very, very important and should be for all of us."

"I think if there is a group interested in the feasibility of retaining funds to restore it the commissioners should look into that," Lusby said. "Allow the committee to research it and bring their findings back to the commissioners. And, the county should take steps to barricade each side until a permanent decision is made."

Hilliard liked the idea of a committee.

"But we do have public safety to consider," he said.

Precinct 4 Commissioner Richard Strube, who oversaw the demolition of a similar truss type bridge near Hatchel, agreed with the idea of forming a committee to research the options.

"It would be nice to keep it," Strube said. “We could try a fence."

Koch volunteered to be on the committee along with her daughter.

Moore suggested that before the final decision on a fence is made, that all commissioners should make a group trip to the bridge to inspect it.

"We need to go out there and look at it," Moore said.

Officials with the Runnels County Sheriff’s Office said the fire looked suspicious, so they called the State Fire Marshal to determine the cause of the fire.

So far, no results of the fire marshal’s findings have been released.

The bridge was officially turned over to the county in 1991, after the Texas Department of Transportation closed it to traffic.

Hilliard said the bridge holds historical significance to many residents of Runnels County, and he’d like to see it preserved somehow, as long as it is safe.

"It's part of our history," Hilliard said.