Ever since Harvey, Cypress Creek residents near I-45 have been caterwauling that the southbound feeder road is cattywumpus. For those who may not speak fluent Texan, that first word means “screaming” and the second means “skewed” or “out of alignment.”
So on my latest helicopter flight, I flew over the bridge to see what was up. Or down. Actually, the road bed appears level. And nothing has yet fallen into the creek.
However, aerial photos indicate that the bridge panels are indeed cattywumpus. Note how the side guardrails seem to be out of alignment. Also note uneven gaps in the bridge panels (tight on one side, wide on the other). Finally note the vegetation growing or stuck in the cracks, and the un-level bridge support – at bottom of center oval in row of three.
For now, the bridge seems to be holding. But I’m not sure I would want to be the first one to drive over this after the next big flood.
During Harvey, residents say, this bridge went completely underwater. It appears that the force of the water lifted and twisted the bridge panels as much as 6 to 10 inches. However, TxDoT, the responsible authority in this case, has not yet fixed the issue.
According to resident Frank Adamek, TxDoT originally said it would fix the bridge in 2020. Now, says Adamek, TxDoT says they hope to bid the job by the end of 2021 and start construction in March of 2022.
The bridge has other issues, too. Adamek says, the supports under the main lanes are 110 feet across. That allows trees swept downstream in floodwaters to pass through. However, the supports under the southbound feeder road are only 26 feet apart. Adamek says that they have caught trees and backed water up toward homes in the area.
Extreme events, such as Harvey, tend to reveal problems we didn’t even realize existed. Once you see them, though, they’re hard to forget. I, for one, intend to stay off that feeder road.
Posted by Bob Rehak on 6/2/2021
1373 Days since Hurricane Harvey