Night-time work closes southbound bridge and main lanes tonight

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Motorists are encouraged to use caution as the construction on U.S. 59 and Loop 287 moves forward with the rebuilding of the mainlanes of both roadways. Another night-time closure is planned for tonight when the southbound direct connector (third-level bridge) will be shut down along with some U.S. 59 main lanes.

According to the Texas Department of Transportation, the contractor, Zachry Construction Corp., of San Antonio, will close the third-level bridge and the southbound main lanes of U.S. 59 from the temporary ramp (near Huntington State Bank) to Whitehouse Drive at 8 p.m. All southbound traffic at that location will remain on the newly completed frontage road and will go through the Whitehouse Drive Intersection to re-enter U.S. 59. The third level bridge and the temporary ramp for U.S. 59 will re-open at 6 a.m. Friday. However, work may require closing the ramp periodically during the day through next week.

"The U.S. 59 south mainlanes are being reduced to two lanes to begin construction on the inner most south lane (next to the barrier)," said Kathi White, TxDOT spokesperson. "We're looking at up to eight months of work to rebuild the northbound mainlanes."

White said the reconstruction requires the set up of additional barriers and another night-time operation is planned next week to complete the barrier installation. During this work, when traffic from the third level bridge reaches the U.S. 59 mainlanes it will exit Whitehouse Drive and go through the light.

Other work and details on this project include the following:

U.S. 59 Northbound Mainlanes:

* Work could begin on the northbound intersection at Loop 287 tonight or next week

* Requires reducing the mainlanes to one lane from the temporary ramp through the intersection

Eastbound Frontage Road:

* Could open to two lanes of traffic in a few weeks

* Ramp at Chic-fil-A to close with traffic entering Loop 287 at the Burke Center area

Westbound Frontage Road:

* Re-open to two lanes of traffic about in 3 months

Tulane Drive Bridge:

* Work underway on the south end of the bridge

* U-turn bridges expected to open in November

Project Completion Date:

* Currently projected to be completed in October 2010

"We really appreciate the patience of the traveling public as we continue on the fast track with this project," White said. "Safety is our top priority for both the workers and the traveling public."

Motorists are urged to use alternate routes when possible to avoid possible delays during the project, and are also reminded to obey all traffic control devices. Remember traffic fines double when workers are present.