Orange County judge, Jefferson County judge talk needs and impacts of Rainbow Bridge maintenance

Published 12:20 am Thursday, March 28, 2024

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BRIDGE CITY — The scheduled 18-month maintenance on the Rainbow Bridge is going to lead to major changes in traffic flow between Orange and Jefferson counties.

The Texas Department of Transportation stays in constant contact with leaders of the two counties, keeping them advised of various closures and other issues.

The main issue for all involved is safety.

Two fishermen enter the private boat ramp at Ancelet’s Marina at the base of the Rainbow Bridge looking eastward in this Orange Leader file photo.

Orange County Judge John Gothia said county leaders have been in contact with TxDOT and updated on the bridge plans.

Gothia anticipates the new traffic pattern causing traffic backup early in the morning and late in the afternoon.

If motorists have an alternate route, they may want to consider using it during peak traffic times, he said.

The inconvenience is something that must be done in order to have the roads and bridges maintained, Gothia added.

Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick said industrial construction is at a high in the area history, as is transportation in and out of the county in different directions. TxDOT realizes the importance of this and is also concerned with the safety of roads and bridges, as if the county.

Consider the age of the bridge and the need for regular maintenance, it’s important to prioritize safety over convenience, Branick said.

Fortunately there is the Veterans Memorial Bridge adjacent to the Rainbow Bridge, which is wider and allows for two-way traffic, but will take some time to get used to, he added.

TxDOT anticipates the project beginning in late summer or early fall.

Southern Road and Bridge LLC was awarded the $410.9 million project to perform extensive maintenance on the bridge.

During the construction, the bridge is closing and all traffic diverted to Veterans Memorial Bridge, with two lanes of travel in each direction.

A temporary detour is being constructed on the west side of the Veterans to help alleviate traffic while the Rainbow undergoes maintenance, according to information from TxDOT.

Tanya Avila, Texas Department of Transportation, spokesperson said The Rainbow Bridge maintenance project would begin with all traffic being routed over the Veterans Memorial Bridge.

“It will have two lanes northbound and two lanes southbound. The Rainbow Bridge will be closed to all traffic,” she said.

The last time the Rainbow Bridge was closed for maintenance that included rerouting traffic was during a 2014 project.

The contractor at that time had one lane open for traffic over the bridge itself.

— Written by Mary Meaux