By GREG RUSSELL, Register Staff Writer
Two nights of extensive demolition on Interstate 35 in Gainesville are set to begin next week, resulting in closures and detours.
Weather allowing, an Ed Bell Construction crew will detour traffic and raze the Star Street Bridge on May 14-15, an overpass also known as the Southland Paint Bridge.
The closures begin at 7 p.m. both nights, with roadways set to reopen at 6 a.m. the following day. Texas Department of Transportation Public Information Officer Adele Lewis said the work, an element of the ongoing expansions and alterations to the interstate and Highway 82, is expected to take a maximum of two nights.
“This is all dependent on good weather,” Lewis said Tuesday. “Good weather, and no glitches in the plan.”
The first night’s work begins with a jackhammering of the driving surface, followed by removal of bridge deck panels via crane and removal of bridge beams — much of the material hauled off with dump trucks.
“They should be able to hopefully get everything out of there that first night,” Lewis said.
Lewis said TxDOT has already notified all local law enforcement and emergency response agencies so that they will use alternate routes during the work.
She added that Ed Bell will undergo demolition at night, to reduce interference with traffic. But since the bridge work can’t be performed over live traffic, the interstate will be closed to northbound and southbound motorists coming from Highway 82, and the recently completed highway overpass will be closed during both nights.
• Interstate 35 motorists will be detoured off the freeway at Highway 82, and re-enter the highway at the next entrance.
• Highway 82 traffic will be detoured onto the frontage roads where they will travel approximately one mile to the turnarounds to change directions, and then head back to Highway 82.
Lewis added that local residents and motorists may want to avoid this general area if possible, once the night work begins.
“This is for the people of Gainesville, because travelers coming through Texas won’t realize it,” she said. “If you can avoid it, please try and avoid it and find an alternate route.”