By Elissa Rivas
HOUSTON (KTRK) — More than 120,000 drivers a day travel the Interstate 45 bridge heading south over Rayford and Sawdust, but the bridge has problems that extend beyond the heavy traffic.
According to a recent study by the American Road and Transportation Builders Association, it is the most traveled bridge in Texas.
The bridge also carries the designation of ‘structurally deficient’ from TxDOT. The northbound 45 bridge over White Oak Bayou is on the list, in addition to others throughout our area.
“It’s possible that it could be unsafe, if it’s not up to standard,” said driver Kvondre Tinner, who lives nearby in The Woodlands.
While structurally deficient bridges are still driveable, University of Houston engineering professor Y.L. Mo says the designation means the bridges need serious attention.
“When we say deficient, that means already damaged. The structural bridge is already damaged, and if we don’t repair it gets worse and worse,” said Mo.
He says Texas is in better shape than many states and that bridges are inspected annually in a search for cracks and damage. Drivers we talked to say they expect more from their tax dollars at work.
“We pay a lot of taxes already, I would say they can pay for it,” said driver Yuri Rodriguez.
A 2016 TxDOT Report on Texas Bridges outlines the challenges, saying in part,”Demand is outpacing funding. Factors including inflation, a growing population, an aging infrastructure, and more fuel-efficient vehicles-which provide environmental benefits but result in less revenue from the motor fuel tax.”
County Year Built Daily Crossings Type of Bridge4 Location
Montgomery 1991 120,840 Urban Interstate IH 45 SB over Rayford/Sawdust Rd.
Harris 1961 106,670 Urban Interstate IH 45 NB over White Oak Bayou
Harris 1964 80,210 Urban Interstate IH 610S WB over Holmes Rd UPRR & Theresa
Harris 1964 80,210 Urban Interstate IH 610S EB over Holmes Rd UPRR Theresa
Denton 1960 75,357 Urban local road S Denton Dr over IH 35E
Harris 1958 74,130 Urban Interstate IH 10 WB over McCarty St/US 90A
Tarrant 1961 69,770 Urban Interstate IH 35W NB over Nixon St
Harris 1979 66,000 Urban freeway/expressway SH 288 SB over US 59 NB & Alabama St
Tarrant 1966 57,280 Urban Interstate IH 35W SB over Uprr/Fwwr/Dart & 36th St
Potter 1964 49,650 Urban Interstate IH 40 WB over Arthur St
Potter 1964 49,650 Urban Interstate IH 40 EB over Arthur St
Harris 1970 44,730 Urban local road S Braeswood Blvd over Hcfcd Ditch
Dallas 1955 38,900 Urban freeway/expressway Galloway Ave over US 80
Potter 1958 37,380 Urban Interstate IH 40 WB over Ross St
Potter 1964 37,380 Urban Interstate IH 40 EB over Ross St
Galveston 1939 33,950 Urban Interstate IH 45 NB over BNSF RR
Dallas 1971 32,545 Urban Interstate IH 345 SB over IH 30 US 75 & Dart Rail
Dallas 1971 32,545 Urban Interstate IH 345 NB over IH 30 US 75 & Dart Etc
Potter 1966 31,030 Urban Interstate IH 40 WB over Whitaker Rd
Potter 1966 31,030 Urban Interstate IH 40 EB over Whitaker Rd
Tarrant 1957 30,000 Urban collector IH 30 WB to SH 360 over Ih-30
Harris 2000 27,940 Urban freeway/expressway US 59 Hov W Ramp over US 59 Hov
Potter 1966 27,010 Urban Interstate IH 40 WB over Lp 335 (Lakeside Dr)
Potter 1965 27,010 Urban Interstate IH 40 EB over Lp 335 (Lakeside Dr)
Harris 1931 25,730 Urban other principal arterial US 90A (S Wayside) over Country Club Bayou