Officials from Grimes and Washington Counties along with TxDOT held an official ribbon cutting for the new Texas State Highway 105 bridges that extend over the Brazos and Navasota Rivers and Coles Creek.
The construction of the new bridges and roadway began in 2013, a $33.4 million project contracted to James Construction Group, that will replace the existing bridges that have been in use since the 1950s.
Neveille H. Colson Bridge, which goes over the Brazos River, opened in 1954. It was named after the state senator that was instrumental in getting the bridge constructed. The new bridge will carry the same name and the dedication plaque on the existing bridge will be relocated to the new location.
“In our time you’ve heard the news stories and news reports about a bridge to nowhere, but these are truly three bridges to somewhere,” explained Grimes County Judge Joe Fauth III. “This is a great day for our communities, our counties and our citizens. The safety is enhanced.”
Fauth said opening the three bridges at the same time is great for the safety of the drivers in the community and visitors to the community traveling that stretch of road. “The other bridge has served the community for almost 60 years and it is nearing retirement time for that bridge.”
In addition to the construction of the new roadway and bridges, TxDOT constructed a private emergency boat launch to ease access to the rivers for first responders. “We have the Brazos River bridge and we have the Navasota River bridge,” stated Fauth. Those two rivers tend to come together and when they come together that water can back up and it can back up fast and it can put people in harm’s way. So, with the support of what y’all [TxDOT] are helping us with, that is going to be an excellent added benefit.”
The project took longer than anticipated due to several hurdles along the way including erosion and several weather-related delays. In 2017 construction was halted due in large part to the rain associated with Hurricane Harvey but resumed in 2019.
Opening of the new bridges was scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 14, but threats of Tropical Storm Nicholas that made landfall Monday, Sept. 13, as a category 1 Hurricane is delaying the opening until Friday, Sept. 17.
Bob Colwell of TxDOT stated traffic will shift to the new alignment on State Highway 105 to the new alignment between Farm-to-Market Road 1155 and Navasota.
“At the time traffic is shifted onto the new SH 105 roadway, FM 159 will be fully closed at its intersection with SH 105. This closure is to raise the grade of FM 159 to tie into the new SH 105 at a lesser angle and is expected to have a duration of four weeks,” said Colwell in a press release.
Colwell said delays are expected during the transition. The full projected is anticipated to be completed in the spring.