Closed Bridge Makes for Dangerous Intersection 1/30/13
CBS 7 News Reporter
January 30, 2013
Odessa Ė Itís a problem that's becoming more and more common here in the Permian Basin; big rig trucks slamming into overpasses and creating traffic headaches for all of us.
But itís been months since one particular overpass was destroyed. Now the people who drive this busy stretch of highway are scared to drive home and companies are even telling employees to avoid it.
Because the bridge at Highway 385 and 158 is closed, drivers have had to take this service road to cross Hwy 385. Drivers we spoke with say this route is just an accident waiting to happen.
"Going across two lanes to get back on the highway. That's very scary," one driver said. "No one's slowing down for anyone."
The intersection at Hwy 385 and 158 is so busy because the damaged bridge has been closed for months, which has re-routed traffic to the Hwy 158 service roads.
Shawna Maynard drives through this intersection everyday. She says it's part of her drive she never looks forward to.
"When they're going 75mph both ways, you're just hoping please let me get across," she said. "I have a baby and a husband to get home to. I want to be able to get home and not be in accident."
Blake Little is a safety director who tells his guys to avoid the intersection all together.
"You start pulling out in front of people and you're having to slam on your brakes or jump off in the median," he said.
However, TxDOT says this route was their only option and that repairs on projects like this just takes time.
"There's not a cookie cutter answer to the repairs. You have to look at what beams are damaged, how much damage there is, how extensive it is, exactly what needs to be done," Gene Powell, the media relations director for TxDOT said.
And until the bridge is repaired and re-opened, drivers will just have to use extreme caution.
TxDOT officials say construction on the bridge will begin at the end of next month or early March. They say it will take two months to complete.
So how much will it cost to repair the bridges that have been hit in our area?
The bridge at Highway 385 and 158 will cost $324,000 to repair.
The bridge at FM 700 and Interstate 20 in Big Spring will cost $250,000 to repair.
And the bridge at Loop 250 and Highway 80, along with the bridge at Faudree Road and Highway 191 do not have estimates for how much they'll cost.