By Kyle Cushman, Correspondent
The Texas Department of Transportation held a public open house meeting to discuss upcoming bridge maintenance on FM 817 over the Leon River. The meeting was held at the TXDOT Belton Area office on Loop 121 near I-35.
The bridge is next to Summer Fun Water Park.
Paul Cepak is the District Bridge / Hydrualic Engineer for the TXDOT Waco District. “The entire project is estimated to cost about $1.1 million,” said Cepak. “Those funds will come from the Bridge Maintenance Improvement Program, which exists to preserve and maintain existing bridges in Texas. This particular bridge was submitted as a candidate, and it was approved because of its age, its use and its somewhat historic nature.”
The letting day, the day when contractors submit their bids, will be in the second week of November and the lowest bidder will typically get the job. The actual work should begin about 90 days after letting day.
“They will strip down all of the metal, prime it and paint the entire bridge a gray color that is similar to its current color,” noted Cepak. “They’ll also clean the deck, apply sealer and put down new overlay.”
For those who are wondering about environmental impact to the river or surrounding area, the contractors who do the work will conduct it in a manner that traps and collects any debris.
As far as the expected impact to drivers, the bridge will have one lane open while the work is being done. Traffic lights on each side of the bridge will be put in place to control traffic flow. There will be two full closures of the bridge – one night at the beginning of the project to place barriers and another night at the end of the project to remove the barriers.
The project is expected to last about 3 months. However, due to the fact that it will begin in February the weather could have an impact and delay completion.