TxDot: East Texas Bridges are Safe

Engineers inspect East Texas bridges every two years, but maintenance crews examine them every six months. Serious problems are taken care of immediately. Some bridges are even shut down for repairs. The aggressive upkeep is part of the Texas Department of Transportation's Bridge Inspection Program.

Kathy White, TxDot's Public Information Officer, said, "We'd just like the traveling public to know that all of the bridges in the Lufkin District are safe. They don't have to be afraid to drive across the bridge and think that it's gonad fall or shake or anything because the bridges are safe."

Reckless driving and too much weight from big rigs cause a lot of damage on bridges every year. During inspections, engineers examine the deck - roadway where traffic flows - and the railing. Divers also check underwater for erosion underneath bridges.

TxDot Bridge Engineer Nancy Smith said, "We look underneath the bridge for any type of damage, rust on any steel parts, any buckling - anything that's bent out of shape."

And there are some things drivers can do to help East Texas bridges last longer.

"Just be safe and obey all of the weight limit signs, not carrying anything heavier than they're supposed to carry," Smith said.

TxDot maintains about 1,300 bridges in the Lufkin District's nine-county area. For the condition of a bridge near you, go to http://nationalbridges.com/.