TxDOT Cautiously Re-Opens Damaged Bell Street Bridge
SAN ANGELO, TX — After an inspection Monday by a structural engineer, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) announced this morning that the Bell Street Bridge would safely re-open today at least to one lane each way. The Bell Street Bridge, or overpass, carries north-south traffic over the Houston Harte Expressway, or U.S. 67 on the northeast side of San Angelo.
An oversized load carrying a component for a windmill tower traveling through town westbound on the Houston Harte Expressway slammed into the overpass May 12. The damage to one of several steel beams holding up the bridge was very visible. TxDOT closed the overpass and diverted traffic off the expressway onto the service road s a safety precaution, preventing all vehicles from traveling underneath the overpass. Overhead, the bridge was closed pending the outcome of the engineering assessment conducted Monday.
The overpass was built in 2000.
Above: A closeup of the damage to the Bell Street Bridge (Contributed/Donnie Hall)
TxDOT said this morning the Bell Street Bridge will need damaged parts underneath it removed and replaced. In the meantime, the two center lanes of the 4-lane bridge can re-open. Only one of the two westbound lanes on the Houston Harte that traverse under the bridge will re-open, TxDOT said.
“The left lane will be open for travel,” TxDOT stated in a release.
The entrance ramp at Smith Blvd. will remain closed until after repairs are complete.
“Periodic adjustments to traffic flow will be required in the coming months as the demolition of the damaged areas progresses,” said TxDOT.
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