TxDOT Begins Bridge Construction East of Chireno
CHIRENO, TX The Texas Department of Transportation has begun a new bridge construction project in the Lufkin District that will replace two existing bridges at the Attoyac River on SH 21, east of Chireno, Texas.
Drewery Construction, Nacogdoches, Texas, is contractor for the $5.2-million project. Once the new bridge is completed, the two older bridges currently in use will be removed. Crews began placing barricades for the project just before Thanksgiving and work began the same week.
The new bridge will span 1,191 feet and will replace the bridges at the Attoyac River and Attoyac River Relief. The new structure will be offset to the south of the existing structures. Project completion is set for February 2019, weather permitting. Removal of the old bridges will begin in December 2018.
The project presents challenges as construction begins due to environmental issues that must be considered. Permits were required from the Texas General Land Office, the United States Coast Guard and the United States Army Corps of Engineers prior to beginning construction.
As engineers designed the new, more modern bridge to replace the two smaller, outdated bridges, a series of wetlands was an important factor in their planning.
Construction fencing and timber mats will be used in order to protect the wildlife and their habitats which include the Plains Spotted Skunks, Southeastern Myotis, Rafinesque's Big-eared Bats, Timber Rattlesnakes, and Alligator Snapping Turtles. In addition, large hollow trees which are home to the bats must be spared, and work to conserve vulnerable fish and mussel species will be ongoing.
The Attoyac River is surrounded by the Blackjack Community, a historical area established in 1897. Today, SH 21 is a main roadway that travels east to the Louisiana state line and west to Crockett, Texas, before turning south to San Marcos, Texas.