orangeleader.com (Orange, Texas)

January 25, 2014

Work to begin on Cow Bayou Bridge on Monday

Tommy Mann Jr.
The Orange Leader

BRIDGE CITY — The long-awaited restoration of a historic bridge in Orange County is set to finally begin this week.

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) will begin its much anticipated $9.5 million restoration project of the Cow Bayou Bridge on State Highway 87 in Bridge City on Monday, Jan. 27. The project will restore the approximately 73 year-old swing bridge back to working condition.

According to Sarah Dupre, TxDOT public information officer for Beaumont, lane closures on the swing bridge will be a common occurrence from  8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., daily, during the first few weeks of the project.

By mid-to-late February, Dupre stated all traffic will be transferred over to the southbound bridge as the restoration project moves into full motion.

The southbound bridge will be re-striped from three lanes to accommodate four lanes of traffic, two of which will travel north and two will have traffic moving south.

According to The Orange Leader archives, the bridge was built in 1939-1940 and is one of only two its kind remaining in Texas. Members of the Bridge City Citizens for Historic Preservation, which is now disbanded, helped to keep the bridge intact when plans were announced to have it dismantled.

Although the bridge has been around for more than 70 years, it has been dealt moderate damage through years of use and deadly storms, such as Hurricane Rita and Hurricane Ike.

Once the bridge has been restored, it will be 99.5 percent new when completed. The project will include the rehabilitation of the swing bridge structure, bridge control house, repair of both electrical and mechanical components, embankments, boat fender system, pedestrian walkway and more. The swing span concrete deck will be replaced, and traffic safety systems will be installed.