By Vanesa Brashier, firstname.lastname@example.org
Persistent rainstorms in southeast Texas and Hurricane Harvey in 2017 have caused major soil erosion to the northwest side of the Trinity River bridge on FM 787 near Dolen in northeast Liberty County.
Large sections of soil that once made up the riverbank have now fallen into the river, prompting the Texas Department of Transportation, which oversees the maintenance of the bridge, to award an emergency contract to repair the roadway and move it slightly east in order to fully open.
According to Sarah Dupre, spokesperson for TxDOT’s Beaumont District, the emergency repairs are the first phase.
“Next we plan on stabilizing the river bank but we are still waiting on environmental clearances,” Dupre said.
TxDOT says that long-term plans including replacing the bridge altogether.
“The river itself is changing course, so a new bridge in the future will be needed,” Dupre said.
However, the replacement bridge must first be funded by the state.
“At this time, we do not have a date for building a new bridge. That will depend upon funding,” she said.
The Trinity River bridge on FM 787 has stood in this location since it was built in 1976. The bridge was lengthened in 2003.
TxDOT oversaw repairs to the bridge in February 2018. Since that time, the area has experienced multiple flood events that pushed the river to flood stage.