TxDOT: Trinity River slowly changing course, new bridge at FM 787 needed in future

Flooding and Hurricane Harvey are to blame for erosion along the riverbank of the Trinity River at the FM 787 bridge in Dolen between Cleveland and Rye.

By Vanesa Brashier, editor@bluebonnetnews.com

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.

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Before creating Bluebonnet News in 2018, Vanesa Brashier was a community editor for the Houston Chronicle/Houston Community Newspapers. During part of her 12 years at the newspapers, she was assigned as the digital editor and managing editor for the Humble Observer, Kingwood Observer, East Montgomery County Observer and the Lake Houston Observer, and the editor of the Dayton News, Cleveland Advocate and Eastex Advocate. Over the years, she has earned more than two dozen writing awards, including Journalist of the Year.

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