TXDoT getting ready to close Tulane bridge in Lufkin

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Since March, we have been dealing with construction and traffic delays.  But TxDOT promises all the inconvenience that's coming with the next big step on 59 will be worth it in the end.

"[Thursday] at midnight, the Tulane bridge will be barricaded off.  [Friday] during the day we will remove the signals.  We will prep the bridge to be demolished starting at 8pm Friday night," says TxDOT Area Engineer David Collmorgen.

The closure also means it will be a headache for football fans Friday night.

For those attending the Lufkin home game, the loop will be open before kickoff.  But after, Loop 287 will be closed in both directions at Tulane and traffic will be diverted onto the frontage roads.

For football fans heading to the Diboll game from Nacogdoches, officials say to take 59 then go west on the loop to avoid the traffic and hit FM 819 or Southwood to bypass the backup.

"While we are taking down the Tulane bridge Friday night and 59 traffic is on the feeder, no one will be allowed to pull up on Tulane and enter. That's just during the day until about lunch Saturday because it is going to be 59 up [on the feeder]. Lots of traffic," says Collmorgen.

Although the loop closure is temporary, the Tulane bridge closure is for good.

"It's going to be an inconvenience, once the bridge is gone. If you are on the other side, you will have to go to Timberland and use the u-turn. And if you are headed north on Tulane, you will have to go to Chestnut to turn around," says Collmorgen.

The project of rebuilding the Tulane bridge won't take that long, but that doesn't mean the road can be re-opened as soon as it's done.

"The u-turns will be open, but this bridge is going to be sitting here finished and people are going to say "why can't I drive across it?" The reason is because 59 traffic is still going to be on [the frontage road] and we won't have the work underneath on the main lanes finished.   I can't open this intersection."

TxDOT asks that all drivers try taking a different route and be patient with the work that will eventually make 59 an even faster way to go.