NACOGDOCHES COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - The safety of bridges on Nacogdoches County roadways is increasing.
County workers have been busy making improvements. The completed labor is considered an in-kind exchange for a soon-to-be constructed new bridge.
The replacement offer comes as a surprise to both residents and county government.
One quiet road used to be Highway 21. Today, Nacogdoches County Road 706 is a neighborhood road barely outside the city limits. Robert Bright crosses the road's only bridge when he goes to town.
"It's not wide enough for mobile homes to come over and two vehicles passing at the same time," said resident Robert Bright. "Been some people who ran off of it before."
State engineers are concerned about erosion under the pillars. The state will spend $200,000 for a new bridge.
"I wouldn't turn that down at all said Pct. County Commissioner Charles Thomson "It's a new bigger, wider, safer bridge."
Yet Gayla Chisenhall feels safe enough crossing the bridge to and from her house.
"We were surprised because we don't understand why we need the new bridge," Chisenhall said. "And there was some talk of the road widening and we're really not getting any answers and if that happens it's going to take a lot of my front yard in."
The off-system bridge program doesn't always please everyone, but it does help counties pay for expensive projects.
Trusties were cutting brush around one of the existing 107 Nacogdoches County bridges Monday. It's just one of 48 recently repaired by county road crews following state inspections.
"Whether it be delineators, the runners or maybe the complete bridge top needs to be replaced," said Doyle Williams, Nacogdoches County's road administrator. "Some of them were erosion controls, debris from all the deadfall into the creeks blocking it up."
The in-kind service adds up to $21,000. It goes toward the county's percentage of work to build the new bridge. Still, it may take time before some residents get used to the idea of having one out their front door.
A Texas Department of Transportation spokesperson says the County Road 706 bridge is scheduled to begin after July of next year.
It will be wide enough to have two-way traffic over the structure. Beyond the bridge, the roadway will taper back to the existing county road width.