McLennan County engineers are evaluating a bridge near Old Lorena Road after closing it because of erosion from the creek below.

Before any work can be done, county leaders need to know the condition of ground which the bridge on North Crooked Creek Road stands on, County Engineer Zane Dunnam said. McLennan County commissioners approved a proposal Tuesday from Dunnam to award a contract for $4,890 in geotechnical testing to Langerman Foster Engineering Company.

“The bridge is in bad shape, and we plan to have it replaced in the future but to do that we have to do some geotechnical testing to see what’s in the ground,” Dunnam said.

Since it is less than 20 feet long, the bridge is not even considered a bridge under Texas Department of Transportation standards, Dunnam said. Its replacement, however, would be longer and built to TxDOT standards, he said.

North Crooked Creek Road bridge

A small bridge on North Crooked Creek Road is out of service, and county leaders signed off on a contract for geotechnical testing Tuesday as they work toward a replacement.

It is possible more right of way will need to be acquired for any expansion because of the adjacent property boundaries, he said.

Warning signs backed by piles of soil are in place to prevent drivers from crossing the bridge.

“The bridge walls are starting to cave in due to erosion from the creek,” Dunnam said.

Precinct 4 road and bridge maintenance crews noticed the condition of the structure recently and notified the county engineer’s office, which was able to close off the area, Dunnam said.

There are 156 bridges in McLennan County, including 28 in Precinct 1, 35 in Precinct 2, 34 in Precinct 3 and 59 in Precinct 4.

Precinct 4 Commissioner Ben Perry said this is the initial step toward bridge replacement, so it is too early to estimate any potential overall cost or timeline.

The replacement will be an upgrade in size and design, he said.

“Quite honestly, it needs to be widened as well,” Perry said. “It’s just your typical old county bridge. It was built to service what the need was in that time.”

Cassie L. Smith has covered county government for the Tribune-Herald since June 2014. She previously worked as a reporter for the Beaumont Enterprise and The Eagle in Bryan-College Station. Smith graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington.

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