AUSTIN, Texas (FOX 7 Austin) - Prep work for the demolition of the Stassney Lane bridge got underway Friday morning. The bridge will start coming down Friday night and that will require the interstate to be shut down.
The closures will only occur during the overnight hours, starting at 11:00 pm, Friday and Saturday according to TX DOT spokesperson Brad Wheelis
"The roads will be back open during the daytime on the weekend,” said Wheelis.
TxDOT animation shows what the interstate between Stassney and William Cannon will eventually look like. The animation of the $79-million project may be impressive, but it’s far from reality for those who drive through, or around, this construction gauntlet. "I started dating my wife now, girlfriend at the time, about 8 years ago, came down visiting looks the same as it did 8 years ago,” said Brad Becker.
A solution for Quinten Williams, is to just simply avoid all things with 4 wheels. "I ride a bike, a scooter, and don’t ride in cars, why I can go right past you in a bicycle, and you'll be there all day," laughed Williams.
To keep things flowing east and west, two new U-turn bridges are being used on Stassney Lane. Getting over the interstate does require a few twists and turns. "We have painted those U-Turn bridges so folks know how to get across and if you slow down, pay attention, you'll get through with no problem,” said Wheelis.
The Stassney Lane Bridge isn't the only elevated structure that will have to be shutdown. Two more sections of road are going to be closed. "This does mean the flyovers that take you from SH71 to Southbound 35, those will have to be closed because of this working being done,” said Wheelis.
No sooner will the interstate reopen at Stassney Lane than another section will close down. It's not far from the total rebuild, but is a maintenance project. A section of the NB upper deck railing has to be replaced. It was recently smashed by a truck.
Sunday night, the upper deck will be reduced to one lane and the NB lower deck will be closed. "We want to make sure that when we are conducting this repair, that no debris falls down on to a car below,” said Wheelis.
The upper and lower deck project should be completed before the Monday morning rush hour starts. But another round of interstate closures will be necessary as the new bridge for Stassney Lane is being built. The new bridge is expected to be open for traffic by early next year.