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A Texas Department of Transportation sign warns drivers that the California Street bridge is set to close Monday. The bridge is scheduled to be replaced as part of the Pecan Creek redirection project.

Demolition of the California Street bridge is set to begin Monday, and city officials say they’ve been preparing for the traffic changes associated with the projects for months.

“We’ve already given out maps to the police and fire fighters. They have already been working on how they will get calls,” said City Manager Barry Sullivan.

Sullivan said the project — which has been delayed several days due to inclement weather — should not cause a great deal of trouble for emergency agencies and residents.

“The reason it won’t really be that drastic is because the detour is only, basically, one block. You can either go to Broadway or you can go to Main Street,” Sullivan noted. “It will not be that large a deviation.”

Sullivan said each time city workers must close a street, officials create a detour plan including maps of the proposed changes. They then submit them to police and fire officials.

“We discuss the plans with them to make sure they’re okay with it. Once we discuss it, they approve the plans and we go forward,” he said.

Sullivan said officials also discuss the plans with other city departments “to make everyone understands” the proposed changes.

Gainesville Fire Chief Steve Boone said his department is ready for the detour.

“Any time you close down a bridge it has some impact on traffic,” Boone said. “But we have three stations located within the city and we can also use the Highway 82 overpass. It shouldn’t have that much impact.”

The Texas Department of Transportation is responsible for the initial phase of the bridge construction project, he added.

Sullivan also said he realizes residents may be unsure why the project has been repeatedly delayed.

“Until the weather dries up, they cannot actually begin the work,” he said. “They (TxDOT) are not going to shut down the street until they’re contractor is ready to do the work.”

The work which includes replacing both the California Street and Broadway spanning Pecan Creek is part of a project designed to redirect and rechannel Pecan Creek.

Three agencies are involved in the project including TxDOT, the city of Gainesville and the Army Corps of Engineers.

Replacing both bridges is expected to take about six months.

Sullivan said he doesn’t expect the project to cause a lot of problems for first responders.

“This is not really that big an issue as far as our emergency response. Our agencies already have (detour) maps and plans in place,” he said.

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