GRAPEVINE -- The crash that gouged two bridges over Texas 114/121 on Thursday left one of them so unsafe that it will never reopen, adding to the traffic tie-ups along the massive DFW Connector project.
The accident was caused by an equipment hauler operated by a bridge demolition company, though that company is not working on the project, officials said. The semitruck, operated by Stomper Demolition of Euless, was hauling an excavator that struck girders on the Texan Trail bridges, said Selma Stockstill of NorthGate Constructors, which is in charge of the DFW Connector project.
The boom on the excavator gouged one outside girder of the southbound bridge and two girders of the northbound bridge, hitting so hard that "some of the rebar have snapped within the concrete," she said.
The boom was 16 feet 3 inches tall, but the driver's permit allows a maximum of 14 feet 2 inches, according to the police report.
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Tony Hartzel of the Texas Department of Transportation said the bridge had a clearance of 14 feet 7 inches.
No one from Stomper Demolition was available to comment.
The southbound Texan Trail bridge will be closed at least a week, officials said. If that bridge is deemed safe, Stockstill said, one lane in each direction will open.
The northbound bridge will never open again, she said.
"It is not safe for the traveling public to be on that bridge," she said.
The bridge had already been scheduled for demolition starting Feb. 3.
The southbound bridge is not expected to come down for three to six months, Hartzel said. It may need repairs in the meantime.
Until that bridge reopens, Stockstill said, drivers will be detoured to the Main Street bridge to the west. This weekend, Main Street traffic was already scheduled to be shifted to a newly completed section.
Also, NorthGate was going to open a Texas turnaround on the Main Street bridge, allowing traffic on the westbound 114 frontage road to go back east without waiting at the traffic light.
Unfortunately, Stockstill said, "there is not a whole lot else we can do right now" to ease traffic disrupted by the closing of the bridges.
Grapevine's commercial vehicle inspection team is investigating the accident, Sgt. Robert Eberling said. Police issued citations for three violations: exceeding the height limit, exceeding the load limit requirement and having a leaking brake hose.
The semi was going from Hurst to Dallas, according to the police report. The driver was not injured.