By late spring to early summer, repairs should be complete to the FM 787 bridge over the Trinity River near Romayor in north Liberty County. Traffic has been down to one lane on the bridge since May 2019 due to major erosion to the eastern approach of the bridge.
“Construction crews are stabilizing the shoreline that washed out during Hurricane Harvey,” said Sarah Dupre, a spokesperson for the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT).
Crews are installing sheet piling sections to hamper future erosion and are working with soil nails, steel rods that are driven into the soil and reinforced with concrete. The application is used to treat unstable natural soil on slopes.
“We use soil nails a lot when we are building overpasses. They are used to stabilize bridges and overpasses,” Dupre continued.
Signal lights on each side of the bridge kept two-way traffic moving.
This Saturday and Sunday, March 20-21, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., all traffic will be detoured. Dupre said the total closure of the road during those hours is to allow the construction crew to locate a fiber optic line owned by AT&T that runs near the river bridge.
“We don’t want to impact that communication line,” said Dupre, when asked why it is necessary to close the road for all traffic during those hours.
The stabilization of the eastern bridge approach is a temporary fix for a continuing problem. The bridge lies on a sharp turn in the river, which will continue to create erosion challenges, particularly during flood events that are prevalent in Southeast Texas. Eventually the entire bridge will need to be moved.
“Building a new bridge is a project for further down the road. That is our ultimate goal,” Dupre said.