Officials with NorthGate Constructors are now warning that it will be at least a week before a portion of the Texan Trail bridge in Grapevine could reopen to traffic after being damaged Thursday.
"The safety of the traveling public is NorthGate and TxDOT's first priority," a company news release said. "For that reason traffic will run at a reduced capacity on the west side of the bridge once it reopens."
Damage to the bridge was caused Thursday by the driver of an 18-wheeler carrying a large piece of construction equipment — unrelated to work on the DFW Connector — who misjudged the height of the bridge, officials said. The cargo slammed into the underside of Texan Trail's stretch over Hwys. 121 and 114 just north of the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, causing severe damage to the bridge's girders (support system).
NorthGate had planned to move traffic to the west, southbound side of Texan Trail bridge this weekend, beginning Saturday morning, in anticipation of demolishing, rebuilding and expanding the bridge one side at a time as it has with the Main Street and William D. Tate Avenue bridges.
While that traffic switch is being delayed, the company tackling the $1.1 billion project says it anticipates moving forward with the scheduled demolition of the east (northbound) side of the bridge on Feb. 3. Until that date, the northbound lanes will remain closed.
"Traffic is expected to be put onto the west side (currently southbound lanes) of the bridge following a full structural analysis to its girder damage," the news release said. "Once confirmation has been received that there are no significant integrity issues to the west side of the bridge, traffic will be placed in a head-to-head configuration with one lane in either direction."
The highways that run beneath the Texan Trail bridge will close as expected during the bridge demolition in early February. Otherwise, the damage ot the bridge should not further affect drivers on the main lanes of Hwys. 121 and 114.
Until Texan Trail's southbound lanes are cleared for safety, motorists are being advised to take Main Street as an alternative. NorthGate plans to unveil that intersection's first Texas U-turn this weekend. Its reveal on the east side of the bridge should help ease the impact of the Texan Trail bridge closure.
For the latest updates on the Texan Trail bridge, check the project website at www.dfwconnector.com.