I-30 Bridge Repairs Begin

Construction could last until July or August


Construction along the westbound lanes of Interstate 30 started on Sunday, nearly a month after a fiery, deadly crash between a wrong-way driver and a tanker truck.

Repairs to the damaged bridge over Sycamore Creek will cost approximately $677,000.

The Texas Department of Transportation said construction would likely be complete in July but could extend into August if there is any additional damage from the fire, which burned at an estimated 1,500 degrees.

The contractor estimates it could take three to four months to finish the project and reopen the entire bridge.

Repairs will include replacing four steel beams, as well as reconstruction of parts of the bridge's substructure and concrete deck.

"Anything with a bridge is more complicated," TxDOT spokesman Val Lopez said. "Obviously, people want a safe bridge to travel over, so it requires specialized building methods and specialized inspectors."

It took TxDOT engineers a record amount of time to design the repairs -- about two and a half weeks. Lopez said getting the bridge back open and safe is a priority.

"We're working as quickly as we can," he said. "We turned around the design as quickly as we could and let it out to construction as quickly as we could."

During most of the work, the left two lanes of traffic on I-30 will continue to be open in the construction zone. The Beach Street ramp to westbound I-30 will remain closed, and the speed limit in the area will continue to be 45 mph.

Because of the time it takes for the concrete to cure in order to support interstate traffic loads, there may be times drivers don't see constructions crews at the site, Lopez said.

The bridge was damaged after Luis Nieves struck a tanker truck, killing the driver, Alejandro Raya, on March 28.

Nieves is charged with drunken driving and intoxication manslaughter.

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