Breckenridge Texan

Officials plan to reopen bridge before school starts with temporary repair

Officials plan to reopen bridge before school starts with temporary repair
December 26
17:22 2023

By Tony Pilkington and Carla McKeown/Breckenridge Texan

The Texas Department of Transportation plans to open the Hubbard Creek Lake bridge before Breckenridge schools reopen on Jan. 7, according to Stephens County Judge Michael Roach, who gave an update on the situation shortly before 5 this afternoon. The bridge on U.S. Highway 180 West was closed on Friday, Dec. 22, following an emergency inspection.

“They’re going to have contractors on site either tomorrow or the next day, and they will do … a temporary solution that’s totally safe, but temporary,” Roach said. “And then while that is there, they’ll be working on a permanent solution.”

(Image and information from Stephens County)

Then, later in 2024, the bridge — aka the “Mile-Long Bridge” — will have to be closed again for a short time while the permanent repair work is done, he explained.

“Most likely it will be … early next year … maybe in a timeframe where school’s out, Spring Break something like that, where they’ll close it down again for a few days and transition from that temporary to the permanent solution they’ve been working on and then open it up again,” Roach said.

Engineers from Austin and Brownwood worked through the Christmas holiday to figure out a plan for the temporary repair, according to Roach. The contractors and sub-contractors weren’t available until today, but now that they have finalized those plans, they will start working on the temporary fix on Wednesday or Thursday.

This evening, Roach distributed a statement from TxDOT:

“TxDOT Brownwood District staff worked through the holiday weekend, alongside public and private sector partners, to address the structural issues currently impacting the US-180 bridge over Hubbard Creek Reservoir. Various options have been examined, and TxDOT will keep the road closed for now, with work beginning within the next 24-48 hours. We are working to re-open the bridge as safely and expeditiously as possible. Our hope is to have the road passable again by the time area schools begin returning from the holiday break, or closely thereafter.

We join local leaders and law enforcement in asking motorists to observe and follow all signage and direction by law-enforcement to help ensure the safety of the traveling public as we work to restore passage through this corridor.”

Roach also issued a statement from the Stephens County Emergency Management team:

“Stephens County would like to express our sincere gratitude to TxDOT Brownwood/Breckenridge for their partnership throughout this emergency. TxDOT has been excellent, and they have provided valuable resources and information. Thank you!

Stephens County  will continue to stage resources on the west end of the 180 West “Mile-Long” Bridge. Our commitment is to provide law enforcement  and emergency services to the western edge of our county until the bridge has been reopened.

We ask that citizens be patient and we echo the concerns of the Stephens County Sheriff’s Office in asking for compliance with  laws, especially within the restricted areas of the closed bridge.”

The bridge closure began with a concerned citizen last week. According to Stephens County Sheriff Kevin Roach, the Sheriff’s Office responded to a call from someone who was fishing at the lake on Thursday and said he saw something concerning with the concrete at the bridge. The Sheriff’s Office contacted TxDOT, who inspected the bridge on Friday and shut it down that evening.

On Saturday, the county judge issued a disaster declaration for the county because the closure “has resulted in severe disruptions to the county’s emergency services and the well-being of our residents.”

In the Disaster Declaration, Roach says that “approximately 15% of the county’s population is now cut off from rapid emergency services, leading to extended response times of 45 minutes or longer. Moreover, residents in the affected areas are facing extended drives for necessities, further exacerbating the situation.”

This afternoon, Sheriff Roach issued a statement indicating that some people have been moving the barricades across the bridge and driving on the bridge. He said such behavior will not be tolerated and violators will be held accountable.

For more information about the situation, read the previous Breckenridge Texan articles:

County Judge declares disaster following TxDOT’s closure of Hubbard Creek Lake bridge

TxDOT closes ‘Mile-Long Bridge’ over Hubbard Creek Lake for repairs; timeline for project undetermined at this time

TxDOT to shut down ‘Mile-Long Bridge’ as soon as possible, according to county judge


Cutline, top photo: Barricades have been installed across the bridge over Hubbard Creek Lake after the Texas Department of Transportation closed it to all traffic due to severe structural damage. Stephens County Judge Michael Roach reported on Tuesday, Dec. 26, that a temporary repair will allow the bridge to be reopened in early January. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)



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