TxDOT to conduct public hearing on FM 457 bridge

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An artist’s rendering of the proposed FM 457 “corkscrew” bridge in Sargent.

   SARGENT – A public hearing to present the planned replacement of the FM 457 Swing Bridge at the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (GIWW) and to receive public comments will be Tuesday, Sept. 1, the Texas Department of Transportation announced Monday.
    The hearing will be at the V.F.W. Post 2412 Hall, 20305 FM 457 in Sargent. Displays will be available for viewing at 5:30 p.m. with the formal hearing to begin at 6:30 p.m. 
   The existing swing bridge is a divided roadway with one 12-foot lane in each direction with no shoulders. 
    The existing roadway crosses a 120-foot metal pontoon bridge at grade. 
    The pontoon bridge is operated by a control tower regulating both vehicular and water traffic. The existing span’s width ranges from about 24 to 30 feet. 
   The proposed $28.7 million project would replace the existing, at-grade pontoon barge swing span and approach spans with a new fixed-span, high-clearance structure with spiral approaches. 
    The purpose of the proposed project is to provide a replacement structure that offers a more structurally sound bridge, reduced maintenance costs, and timely, reliable access across the GIWW along FM 457. 
    The decades-old swing bridge requires significant ongoing maintenance costs, requires 24/7 staffing, and can slow emergency vehicle response time if the bridge is open to marine traffic. 
   The proposed improvements would require about 4.2 acres of additional right of way (ROW). 
    The proposed project would displace one single-family residence, several TxDOT-owned buildings, and potentially impact one water supply well. 
    All interested citizens are invited to attend this public hearing. Verbal and written comments from the public regarding this project are requested and may be presented for a period of 10 calendar days following the hearing. 
    The FM 457 swing bridge is in need of replacement because of its age and the high maintenance costs associated with its upkeep. 
    TxDOT is proposing to replace the swing bridge with a concrete bridge that would span the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway to provide access for residents on the south side of the waterway. 
   The replacement bridge is in the conceptual design and environmental study stage. TxDOT is proposing a “corkscrew bridge” to replace the swing bridge. 
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