South Rice Avenue, Chimney Rock Road bridges to start construction in winter

Hillcroft Avenue bridge
A bridge under construction on Hillcroft Avenue over Brays Bayou will soon be completed despite facing delays, officials said. (Hunter Marrow/Community Impact Newspaper)

A bridge under construction on Hillcroft Avenue over Brays Bayou will soon be completed despite facing delays, officials said. (Hunter Marrow/Community Impact Newspaper)

A construction project raising the height of the Hillcroft Avenue bridge over Brays Bayou has hit some delays but is expected to be completed soon, while two more bridge projects are slated to begin construction in the winter, officials with the Harris County Flood Control District said at an Oct. 12 community meeting.

The project on Hillcroft Avenue, which raised the bridge by 15 inches to allow more water to flow underneath, still has final items the contractor needs to complete before it can be safely opened again.

“He keeps having little hiccups that he can’t finish for one reason or another,” said Gary Zika, the federal projects department manager for the flood control district. “He’s required to open up the bridge, and he’s got to get everything that he needs to be done in order to do it safely.”

The $3.3 million bridge project was already delayed once when the initial construction start date was pushed back from June 24 to July 1 due to COVID-19-related issues.

It is unclear how soon those final checklist items will be completed, though Zika noted the contractor is now having to pay liquidated damages for every day the bridge is not back in service.


“It could be a couple of weeks; it could be a month,” Zika said. “He’s got the motivation to get that bridge back open to traffic, and that’s why he’s working long hours and seven days a week.”

Two other bridge projects at South Rice Avenue and Chimney Rock Road are slated to go out for bid by about Thanksgiving, said Russell P. Lannin, the project manager for the bridge replacements.

The bridges will be demolished, though not before two higher, longer and wider bridges are constructed between the existing bridges. Temporary lane closures are expected as construction is gets underway, though the flood control district will utilize the existing bridges to maintain north- and southbound pedestrian and vehicular traffic.

The flood control district is hoping construction can begin in winter 2020 or early 2021. Construction is expected to last a year.
By Hunter Marrow
Hunter Marrow came to Community Impact Newspaper in January 2020. Before that, Hunter covered local news in Ontario, OR for three years, covering municipal issues, crime, and education across Malheur County and across the border into Idaho.