(Orange, Texas)

Local News

December 19, 2011

Swing bridge may be replaced rather than rebuilt

ORANGE — The Orange County Commissioners’ Court received additional information about plans for the East Round Bunch swing bridge project at a public workshop conducted Monday afternoon before the regularly scheduled meeting.

Kathleen Newton, a bridge engineer for the Texas Department of Transportation- Beaumont district, said there were actually three bridges being looked at in Orange County to receive federal funding for repairs or replacement:

• The East Round Bunch swing bridge.

• The Cascade Road at Anderson Gully Bridge.

• Thomas Drive over the drainage ditch bridge.

The swing bridge on East Round Bunch was heavily damaged by Hurricane Ike and is part of the Round 2.2 Disaster Grant funding application. The county has applied for $3,780,000 to repair the bridge.

The other two projects are $829,805 for a countywide planning study on long-term infrastructure development, economic development and overall strategic planning. The other is $1,217,851 for road repairs left over from Hurricane Ike.

The commissioners were considering repairing the bridge because it would cost too much to replace the bridge. Newton said, however, the bridge has structural damage with the encasement pilings corrupting and it would be cheaper to replace it than to restore it.

The bridge would have to be closed before it reached the critical stage. Another big storm could increase that erosion. The bridge would then be inspected immediately.

More than 2,500 travelers pass over the bridge daily.

The last underwater inspection of the bridge was in 2008 shortly after Ike. Inspections are due at five year intervals.

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