NACOGDOCHES COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - Thousands of Facebook users have shared a recent post showing the impact erosion has had on the Highway 103 bridge in Nacogdoches County. However, a Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) spokesperson said it may be a case of looking worse than it really was.
“It absolutely is alarming for people to see, it’s a little scary” said Rhonda Oaks, TxDOT spokesperson.
Crews with the Texas Department of Transportation spent part of Wednesday morning inspecting a portion of the Highway 103 bridge crossing near Etoile that was showing wear from floodwater. Oaks said the river was rising and washing away soil and other material that connected the bridge with land. What many drivers don’t consider, Oaks added, is that the ground itself isn’t supporting the bridge.
“We have 48-foot concrete pilings right in the ground beneath where that erosion is taking place,” said Oaks. “So, the bridge is held up by the concrete pilings, and the bridge is very sound and safe.”
On Tuesday, a boater uploaded photos to Facebook exposing areas of the underside of the bridge where soil has been eroded and concrete areas of the bridge were made visible.
While the bridge itself might not be affected by the erosion, it is still cause for concern. Oaks said she’s never seen any type of erosion like what was photographed under the 103 bridge, and added that it was in TxDOT’s best interest to make sure it didn’t get worse.
“We don’t want to continue to see it wash away,” Oaks said. “We are working as quickly as we can to determine a course of action we’re going to take on that.”
The Highway 103 bridge spans several Deep East Texas counties and covers several bodies of water for long stretches. For that reason, Oaks said TxDOT crews carry out routine maintenance on the 103 bridge and similar bridges in the area to ensure the safety of drivers.
“Keep in mind, this is not normal, and it’s weather related,” Oaks added. “This erosion is because the water is just so high beneath our bridges right now. But we do daily check the roadways and our bridges and make sure that people are aware whether they’re wet, whether they’re icy, if we need to close them, you know, what’s happening.”
TxDOT Lufkin keeps drivers updated of road and bridge conditions via its Twitter account. You can follow them by searching '@TxDOTLufkin’.