Whitehouse Bridge Closing

by Christa Lollis

Road closed, detour this way, these signs have become a way of life when traveling near highway 59 at Whitehouse Drive and Daniel Mccall. Monday, the detours and traffic will only get worse. "Whitehouse bridge will be closed.  We will be jacking the jacking operations to raise it approximately about a foot and a half," TXDOT engineer David Collmorgen said.

And it's not just affecting the traffic flow. Managers at stores like Belk and Academy are wondering if the road blocks will be blocking their business. "The bridge is really important to our business because that's the entrance way to our business," George Sellers with Academy explained.

Without an easy way to get there the fear is people will shop somewhere else. And even with alternate routes the store manager of Academy is still concerned. "Wal-mart, you can enter them off 59 but in order to get to our business you're gonna have to do a U-turn in order to get to our business or come the back road."

In preparation for construction many of the stores have been giving customers maps with the routes and Academy will have billboards around town to get the word out. For stores on the southbound side you can take FM 819 to Daniel Mccall and enter near UFO Pizza. For stores on the northbound side you'll have to come up Tulane off of the loop and circle around to Whitehouse. TXDOT says the work should take 3 weeks but depending on the weather, it could be longer.

The stores are just hoping their customers can stick it out. Belk manager Brad Vanlandingham says, "It's going to help the community and it's going to help the community grow and it's going to be more accessible for our customers to us and to all our other retail families you know along 59 here and eventually it's going to be a lot better for all of us." For the next 3 weeks though the south side of Lufkin will be a very congested area.