The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is preparing to close I-20 to traffic at FM 849 at Hideaway, from noonSunday through Wednesday morning, for the demolition of the bridge that sustained major structural damage last month. I-20 eastbound and westbound at this location will be closed with traffic reduced to one lane in each direction on the ramps. Motorists should use alternate routes to avoid the extreme delays expected during this work.
According to TxDOT, removal of the existing bridge will signal the start of an emergency contract to expedite the replacement project for the FM 849 Bridge over I-20. The bridge was struck November 14 by an oversized load carrying a tank vessel causing significant damage to three of the four girders making it unsafe for traffic. The closure of I-20, set for 12 p.m. Sunday, is required for the safe, efficient removal of the existing structure and the safety of the traveling public.
“This is not a typical lane closure because we’re actually shutting down I-20 around the clock for three days and putting traffic on the ramps which could cause major delays,” said Kathi White, TxDOT Public Information Officer. “Moving such a high volume of traffic to the ramps will cause lengthy delays. Traffic on all connecting roadways, such as Toll 49, will be impacted as well. Our best suggestion is to avoid I-20 if at all possible.”
After removing the existing steel and concrete structure, daytime and nighttime operations will begin to construct the new bridge. This will also include periodic lane closures and delays on I-20. The bridge will be replaced with a 4-span reinforced concrete bridge and the project includes include roadway work to connect to the new overpass approach slabs.
The contractor for the $4.6 million project is Longview Road and Bridge, Ltd., of Longview. The project, originally scheduled for several years down the road, is expected to be completed in mid-April, weather permitting.
Motorists should use caution when traveling through this work zone. In addition to the Dynamic Message Signs along I-20, portable message boards will be utilized to alert traffic of the closure. Local law enforcement will be stationed along the corridor to assist with traffic control.
TxDOT appreciates the public’s patience and understanding during this major emergency undertaking for the removal process and construction of a new bridge.