Major US 59 bridge repair begins soon at Brazos River in Sugar Land

Elissa Rivas Image
Thursday, June 6, 2024
Major US 59 bridge repair begins soon at Brazos River in Sugar Land
The Brazos River Turnaround underneath U.S. 59 in Sugar Land is getting repairs as part of a 38-month construction project to prevent erosion.

SUGAR LAND, Texas (KTRK) -- We've seen our southeast Texas rivers rise repeatedly, flooding roadways.

The Brazos River is eroding the land under the U.S. 59 bridge in Sugar Land, and the Texas Department of Transportation is about to start a major construction project to fix it.

ABC13 has visited the Brazos many times to show you the erosion. TxDOT is now on the cusp of a 38-month project to reconstruct part of the bridge to keep it stable.

One day in April, while the Brazos River under U.S. 59 seemed pretty low, ABC13 walked down to the north river bank via the Brazos River Turnaround, a U-turn under the highway bridge that began crumbling years ago due to flooding.

It's no longer fit for vehicle traffic, but cyclists like Rafael Gonzales keep a close eye on it.

"I come out here once or twice a week and just ride the trail," Gonzales said. "The last couple of months now, the erosion just keeps getting worse and worse, to the point where it's dangerous now. I won't even cross that."

Just weeks later, in late May, the Brazos River Turnaround was underwater again due to several rounds of heavy rain.

TxDOT spokesperson Kris Hadley said the closure was the best option.

"Around 2016, they permanently closed that turnaround out of concern for public safety," Hadley said.

Year after year, Mother Nature encroaches on the highway bridge, carrying thousands of drivers daily.

The damage is so bad that TxDOT said it's time to rebuild a part of it. The state agency is launching a $53 million U.S. 59 Bridge Extension project, moving the highway bridge and frontage roads north by 1,000 feet.

It will also add armoring, which is a metal protective barrier, to minimize erosion and eliminate the Brazos River Turnaround.

TxDOT said the bridge extension is part of other government-funded projects across Fort Bend County to curb erosion and save homes and neighborhoods repeatedly hit by flooding.

The work can't come soon enough and will begin in mid-June.

SEE ALSO: Fort Bend residents worried 'we could be next' as they say homes being swallowed by Brazos River

Nearly $100 million will go toward repairs along the Brazos River as residents claim erosion from the river is destroying streets and highways.

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