Who were Ruben and Teri, and what became of them?
At some point, at least one of them must have had a crush on the other because there is a small padlock with the message “Ruben + Teri” dangling on a pedestrian bridge over Airport Freeway — just a few steps from Euless Junior High School.
A tiny turquoise heart is also painted on the weather-worn padlock, which looks as if it has hung on the bridge’s chain-link fencing for years.
The “Ruben + Teri” lock is one of at least 50 that have been randomly placed on the bridge over the years. The locks serve as a reminder that for many students the bridge was a major part of their everyday existence — a landmark along the monotonous walk to and from school.
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It’s a landmark that won’t be there much longer, because the bridge is scheduled to be torn down as part of the Midtown Express construction project.
1969 Year the pedestrian bridge opened over Airport Freeway in Euless.
For those no longer involved in the daily grind of school, the discarded locks may perhaps serve as a reminder of what it feels like to be young and rebellious. One can almost imagine a young teenager fastening his or her lock to the fencing, as an act of celebration on the last day of school before summer break.
“The principal said they make the 13-year-olds take them home” at the end of the spring semester, said Deanne Hullender, Hurst-Euless-Bedford school district spokeswoman. “And they don’t want to take them home.”
In its own way, the Euless bridge is a smaller version of the famous Pont des Arts bridge in Paris, where for years visiting couples placed “locks of love” with sentimental messages. French officials last year began removing what became a collection of about 700,000 locks, saying the weight of the devices was damaging the structure.
The Euless bridge is scheduled to be demolished in June to make way for a massive highway expansion.
The Euless bridge, which connects neighborhoods south of Airport Freeway (also known as Texas 183) to Euless Junior High, is scheduled to be demolished in June to make way for a massive highway expansion. The bridge will not be replaced, and once the structure is gone anyone wishing to safely cross the freeway will have to walk to one of the nearby underpasses, at Ector Drive or Main Street.
When asked about the locks by the Star-Telegram, an official from the main contractor of the highway project, Southgate Constructors, said the company is interested in possibly preserving the locks as a testament to the bridge’s important role in the school’s history.
“Our removal team has agreed to salvage that porton of the bridge, if that’s what the school wants,” said Southgate Constructors spokeswoman Selma Stockstill.
The pedestrian bridge was built in 1969, Texas Department of Transportation spokesman Michael Peters said. Its primary purpose was to safely get students from one side of the freeway to the other.
The bridge walkway is covered by chain-link fencing, to prevent anyone from climbing onto the freeway — which is one of the busiest in the Dallas-Fort Worth region, with about 200,000 vehicles using it each day — or throwing any large objects onto the cars below.
Got a lock story?
The Star-Telegram wants to know how the locks wound up on the bridge. If you or someone you know grew up crossing the bridge into Euless Junior High School, please send any of the information you have about the locks by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.