Goodman Bridge Can Reopen - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

07/18/07 - Nacogdoches

Goodman Bridge Can Reopen

by Donna McCollum

The Angelina River is calming down, but opinions over the lengthy closure of the Goodman Bridge are still roaring. The bridge has been closed for a week due to a high river and a concern for safety.   A safety check conducted by a state highway bridge engineer determined  the bridge is safe enough to travel. Texas Department of Transportation bridge engineer,Nancy Smith said,  " When the water gets real fast like it was it tends to eat away, erode at the banks and even down in the bottom of the river. "

A visual check, combined with a depth analysis provided some answers. That's done with a short water ski, with a depth detector attached. A simple way for engineers to collect data that will be compared to previous readings.   Smith explained, " If we feel confident with what we've measured today we'll probably say it's ok." And it is. The bridge can be reopened. Dive teams have been requested to look for structural damage. They have a heavy workload due to all the flooding in other parts of the state. If they find damage, the bridge could close again.

In the meantime the reopening came just in the nick of time for owners of the Goodman Bridge Liquor Store. Owner Les Hunter said, " It's devastated us. We are operating at 20% of our regular income. " The store owners were prepared to liquidate, but can soon resume business as normal. They want to serve customers who are so loyal they're willing to ignore safety barriers.   Caution tape didn't work, so county crews brought in a pile of dirt to block the way.  Some motorists offered to move it with their tractor, but others went right over it with ATV's and vehicles equipped with 4 wheel drive.

The dirt will be moved Thursday morning. The dirt was primarily placed there to block heavy trucks. The rigs are blamed, more than the river, for testing the soundness of the Goodman bridge.

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