HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Divers and state engineer teams inspected the I-10 bridge over the San Jacinto River Monday, and confirmed damage to several support columns on the westbound span of the double bridge.
The structure was struck by several loose barges during the height of last week's flooding during Imelda.
The plan, according to TxDOT spokesperson Danny Perez, is for the eastbound side of the double bridge to be converted to two-way traffic by the end of the week. Barricades have to be installed to separate traffic lanes, and re-striping will be required to direct traffic at switch-over points.
The westbound bridge section will remain closed until major repairs are completed.
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Perez said law enforcement from the sheriff's office and local agencies is being added to direct traffic along highly congested alternate routes, including Hwy 90, Hwy 146, and other major thoroughfares in the interim. He also said traffic signals may be re-timed to reduce waiting time at lights.
The closure has created a mix of 18-wheelers and cars on Crosby Lynchburg Road, and what would have been short trips have turned into long waits.
"It's usually a 10-minute drive to Channelview," said Butch Henderson from his Crosby home. "It took me an hour and 20 minutes and that was (Sunday) afternoon."
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It follows a similar closure in the past few years, again because of barges that tore loose during floods.
"You would think they wouldn't allow barges on the north side of the bridge by now," said Henderson. "I'm not saying anything that other people haven't said before."
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