Patrol officers in Little Elm expected a busy traffic day to start the school year but nothing like what they got, "it was pretty crazy, there was a lot more traffic than anticipated," said Sgt. Brad Wilcox of the Little Elm Police Department.
Cars were backed up for miles along Eldorado Parkway as school buses were given preference in crossing the Eldorado bridge which connects the east and west sides of town across Lewisville Lake.
The bridge is currently being repaired to fix some cracks found in it recently. "We were hoping that the contractor would be done by the time school started," said Texas Department of Transportation spokeswoman Cynthia Northrop-White.
Work on the bridge started at the end of the school year last June, to keep the bridge open while it’s being fixed the maximum weight limit for vehicles crossing it was lowered from 21,000 lbs. to 12,000 lbs.
The weight restrictions led to special preference being given to school buses, all other traffic was stopped each time a school bus needed to cross the bridge causing some major headaches for drivers on a first day of school. "It was about a 3-mile back up," said Sgt. Wilcox.
As slow as traffic moved during rush hours, it was still better than alternative bus routes which cost Little Elm ISD money and significant time.
"First day routes are always longer they always take more time," said Superintendent Lynne Cleveland of Little Elm ISD. "Students get mixed up on what bus they're going to be on, so to add this other issue on top of that would have been really an inconvenience for our students."
Little Elm ISD estimates it can take an additional hour before and after school re-routing buses around Lewisville Lake.
Police are urging patience from drivers until the bridge is repaired and normal weight limits are restored.
TXDOT says it expects the repairs to be complete this week.