FORT HOOD - The new House Creek Bridge on West Range Road is nearly complete and is expected to open in December. This means faster drive times to and from North Fort Hood to the main post and easier access to training ranges for soldiers.
The bridge was shut down in June of 2014 when safety inspectors found serious problems with the structural integrity. The issues were beyond repair, and the bridge was demolished.
Over the last year and a half, traffic has been diverted to Georgetown Road and East Range Road, tacking on an additional 20 to 25 minutes to the drive time between Gatesville and the main Fort Hood cantonment area. Units training were also inconvenienced and had to seek alternate methods to reach training areas.
With the opening of the new $3.9-million dollar bridge, routes will be restored to normal.
"It will reduce time and cost for units and the Army," said John Burrow, Chief of Engineering with Fort Hood Public Works.
The new bridge was also designed to meet the "100-year Storm Event", meaning the structure can withstand high flood waters.
"That's important because the elevation of the new structure is about 20 feet higher than the old structure. That would allow us to keep the road and bridge open during large storm events like we've been experiencing in central Texas over the last several years," said Burrow.
The higher and more open bridge design will also prevent debris from collecting at the bridge. This will prevent rising water at other low water crossings.
Once this bridge is open, Burrow says they can begin making repairs to the bridge on Georgetown Road at Jackson Crossing. That project is expected to cost nearly $7-million dollars.