The Texas Department of Transportation will soon begin accepting bids to refurbish the swing bridge on East Roundbunch Road just outside of Bridge City. The project is expected to begin repair work in late 2016 or early 2017 and take approximately one year to complete. Photo by Tommy Mann Jr.

Tommy Mann Jr. – For The Record

With one bridge repair project complete and another still ongoing, work on yet another bridge could begin later this year.

Bridge City is an aptly named community because it is well known for its many historic bridges, most notably the Rainbow Bridge. While work continues on the Rainbow Bridge, and the Cow Bayou Swing Bridge project has been completed for several months now, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is ready to get to work on another bridge project.

In late 2014, TxDOT held a public forum about the pending project at the Orange County Convention and Expo Center on FM 1442 in Orange to discuss the project and gather input from area residents.

According to Sarah Dupre, TxDOT will soon begin the process of accepting bids. This process is expected to take place in September.

“Once we go out for bids and get that in order, then we will have a better idea on when work on the bridge would start,” she explained. “The earliest construction will start is at the end of the year, or it may be in early 2017.”

The TxDOT project will be to refurbish the East Roundbunch swing bridge, not replace it. The project is expected to last approximately one year at an anticipated cost of $13 million, which will be paid for through federal funding.

The project will include repairs and replacement of various key features to the bridge, such as the mechanical system and electrical system. Work will also include the replacement of concrete approach structures and bridge structure.

Once the project begins, the East Roundbunch swing bridge will be closed to traffic. This would force motorists who drive this route, which connects Texas Avenue to FM 1006, to use the proposed detour route of following Texas Avenue, also known as State Highway 87, to FM 1006 during the length of the project.

Previous inspections of the bridge have revealed various problems, including cracked floor beams and extensive corrosion, which contributed to the decision to refurbish this historic structure.

Its historic nature is one reason the project is expected to take slightly longer than typical repairs or replacement.

“We always take into consideration the historic significance of things, such as this bridge,” she explained. “We know a year is a long time for a project, but it has to do with the historic nature of this bridge.

“The approaches will be new, but we will not be altering the integrity of the bridge,” Dupre added. “Although this bridge is not on the official records of historic locations, it has a lot of history to this area.”