Work on Rufe Snow Drive bridge will snarl traffic

NORTH RICHLAND HILLS -- Traffic on the Rufe Snow Drive bridge over Northeast Loop 820 will be reduced to one lane in each direction on two consecutive weekends while work is being done.

"It will cause some pretty big traffic congestion," Mayor Oscar Trevino said.

The bridge must be set on a new central column, so it must be jacked up, cut loose from its existing column and connected to the new one.

Because Bluebonnet Contractors, the company building the $2.6 billion North Tarrant Express project, scheduled the work on weekends, "the two- or three-day operations will have minimal disruption," Trevino said.

The work is set for 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Sept. 21 to 23 and 28 to 30, Bluebonnet spokeswoman Lara Kohl said.

"The old columns will be demolished during a later phase of construction," she said.

Rufe Snow Drive is the only nonhighway bridge over the 13.5-mile project that isn't being demolished and rebuilt.

When the bridge was rebuilt in 2004, the Texas Department of Transportation designed it to accommodate the project's frontage roads, main lanes and toll lanes, Trevino said.

The city staff and City Council asked for assurances from the state that the bridge wouldn't be torn down again when the project went through, Trevino said. "TxDOT was pretty adamant that they were only going to build it once," he said.

But the project's design changed to include two managed toll lanes in each direction, Transportation Department spokesman Tony Hartzel said.

"That change necessitated the shift in the center columns that we see being done today," Hartzel said.

This report includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.

Terry Evans, 817-390-7620

Twitter: @fwstevans