I-10 traffic diverted through Liberty County after runaway barges damage SJ River bridge

US 90 from Dayton to Beaumont is stacked with traffic due to the shutdown of I-10 over the San Jacinto River due to a barge crash. This photo was taken near the Raywood Post Office.

Traffic on I-10 at the San Jacinto River Bridge is closed in both directions due to a barge that struck the bridge during TD Imelda, forcing the interstate traffic onto SH 146 and US 90 through Liberty County. On Friday evening, traffic through Liberty and Dayton was flowing smoothly before bottle-necking on the east side of Liberty where the road transitions from two eastbound and westbound lanes to single lanes.

The Texas Department of Transportation says it is monitoring the situation closely but cannot give an estimated reopening date for the bridge as first the water must recede, then crews will need to clear debris, conduct inspections and make repairs.

Liberty County Judge Jay Knight anticipates that the rerouting of traffic could last for months.

“I bet six months is short term. Nine months is more realistic,” he said.

In Dayton, where the flow of I-10 traffic first reaches the county on the west side, City Manager Theo Melancon and Dayton Police Chief Rob Vine spent part of the day Friday coordinating how to alter police officer shifts so there is more coverage during peak rush hour times – 6 to 9 a.m. and 4 to 7 p.m.

“This will help us handle traffic control a little better. We are trying to beef up our police presence,” Melancon said.

He stressed that an extra dose of patience will be needed by Dayton residents in the coming weeks.

“Don’t break traffic laws and don’t make dangerous maneuvers to try to get ahead in traffic. Wrecks are going to slow things down even further,” he said. “We haven’t had a longstanding train blocking 90 yet. I think that is going to be the perfect storm, so to speak. That is what we will have to work around. We are working on logistics to keep the traffic moving, at least a little bit, when trains have to cross 90.”

To keep up with the latest information on the I-10 bridge, follow the Texas Department of Transportation’s Beaumont District on Twitter: https://twitter.com/TxDOTBeaumont.

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