County Judge Carl Thibodeaux

The East Roundbunch swing bridge near Peggy’s on the Bayou restaurant on Cow Bayou is still a busy bridge.

Clark Slacum, Road and Bridge engineer, reported to the Orange County Commissioners’ Court the bridge was opened 63 times for the month of May for boats to pass through. Consequently, the commissioners are looking for ways to either build a span across the bayou or rebuild it.

County Judge Carl Thibodeaux said the county is seeking renovation grants from Ike Round 2.2 funding or a Texas Department of Transportation grant.

“It was damaged and it’s old. It was built in the 1940s. We’re constantly repairing the electronics on it. When we had the storm the other day, some lightning knocked it out. We would like to replace it with a span or repair it,” Thibodeaux said.

Several months ago, the commissioners gave approval on the Disaster Recovery Round 2.2 application budget consisting of $3,780,000 for the swing bridge on East Roundbunch in Bridge City, which was heavily damaged by Hurricane Ike; $829,805 for a county-wide planning study to include, but not limited to long term infrastructure development, economic development and overall strategic planning as it relates to county-wide growth and development; and $5,827,656 for road repairs left over from Hurricane Ike.

The actual budget for the road repairs is $2.5 million, but was reduced to the S1.2 million to accommodate the available funding. They will finish what they can with the available funding.

The total for the round 2.2 application budget is $5,827,656.

Precinct 3 Commissioner John Dubose said current estimates for the project are from $5 million to $8 million.

“A span there is needed dearly. We need it opened for emergency evacuations from Chemical Row. Commissioner Dubose has been working on this for years,” Thibodeaux said.

He added though the court is planning for the project, building or repairing the bridge will not happen anytime in the near future.

Dubose said by maritime law if the bridge is inoperable, it must remain open for boats to pass through.