Crews are working to complete emergency repairs to a section of Interstate 69, just south of Kingwood, Texas, after Hurricane Harvey’s floodwaters shifted the depth and alignment of the San Jacinto River, causing scouring and stability problems around the bridge’s foundations.

As a result, the southbound bridge can no longer carry extremely heavy loads.

Contractor Webber LLC began work in February on the $7.5 million emergency repair expected to be complete in late summer or early fall. The job is the Texas Department of Transportation’s (TxDOT) largest post-Harvey reconstruction project.

The bridge is being rebuilt to current standards and specifications, and the work will incorporate at least three elements to prevent damage if there is another flood on the river.

The repair will reduce the footprint of the new foundation and the footprint will be more closely aligned with that of other bridges in the vicinity. Finally, the new foundation is being constructed using drilled shafts that have been designed to better handle scour, says Danny Perez, public information officer for TxDOT.

The scope of work includes the removal and reconstruction of three bents and four spans of the southbound I-69 main lanes over the San Jacinto River, which will restore the load-carrying capacity of the bridge.

Demolition, foundation and substructure work, along with some superstructure work such as beam erection and precast bridge deck panel placement, is all being performed from barges, Perez says.

To accommodate the southbound bridge closure, northbound and southbound traffic are traveling on the northbound lanes across the river, Perez says.

 Webber is the prime with multiple subcontractors. “This is a 24/7 early incentive/disincentive project with two milestones,” Perez says.

The I-69 bridge is the only Harvey-related project Webber is working on, says Mari Pillar, communications manager at Webber. Webber did perform emergency repair work immediately after Harvey, including resetting about 7,500 LF of concrete traffic barriers that were shifted from the flood waters and replacing another 1,500 LF that were unsalvageable along the same stretch of I-69 where the bridge repair is now occurring, she says.

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