Katy Freeway to close this weekend for emergency bridge repair

Friday, January 6, 2017
cars on the freeway

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Get ready for Katy Freeway chaos this weekend.

The Texas Department of Transportation is blocking off all lanes of I-10 inbound at Shepherd for emergency repairs on the Houston Avenue bridge over the freeway.

The freeway will beclosed continuously from 7:30 PM, Friday, January 6 to 5:00 AM, Monday, January 9

The bridge was hit at least twice last fall by commercial trucks over the height limit. The latest hit happened in October when a big rig slammed into the bottom of the bridge and lost a tank it was carrying.

Crashes like this one are a double-whammy for drivers.

"Not only when the incident happens do we have traffic that is impacted, and when we do the emergency closure to make the repairs, it impacts traffic again," Karen Othon, TxDOT spokesperson explained.

Unlike the West Dallas bridge that was also hit last fall, the Houston Avenue bridge does not have to be replaced. But TxDOT crews are racing to get weeks worth of repair work done in just a few days.

The freeway is also scheduled to be closed over the weekend of Jan. 20 to allow crews to finish the work. The Houston Avenue bridge will remain closed at least until Jan. 14, and then close once again over the weekend of Jan. 20.

So why does it keep happening? TxDOT says that in some cases, it's because truck drivers are straying from their approved route, which takes into account bridge height, construction zones, and weight restrictions.

It's the driver's insurance company or trucking company that must foot the bill for the damage.

"So when there is any damage, and that goes for any accident in general, whenever it hits a crash cushion or one of our concrete barriers, it is the drivers insurance company we work with," Othon said.

While TxDOT fixes this problem, you can use the 610 North Loop or Memorial Drive as an alternate route, but get ready for delays.