Repairs to shut down vital Fort Worth bridge

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by JOBIN PANICKER

Bio | Email | Follow: @jobinpnews

WFAA

Posted on May 7, 2013 at 10:00 PM

Updated Wednesday, May 8 at 1:04 AM

West 7th Street Bridge

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FORT WORTH — There are countless construction signs, equipment, and boards on a small stretch of road leading up to the West 7th Street Bridge. But that small piece of real estate could make for some headaches for Fort Worth motorists.

Starting Wednesday night and continuing through next Tuesday, the West 7th Street Bridge from Penn Street west to Stayton Street will be closed.

Pre-cast arches are waiting to be installed onto the bridge that links downtown Fort Worth with cultural district as part of a project to rebuild the span that has been carrying traffic for 100 years.

"It's going to slow traffic down, and it's going to hurt our business," said Leon Cox, the shop manager at G&M Tire and Service Center.

His shop sits right on 7th Street, and customers will now have to use smaller arterial roads to get to Cox's shop and other businesses.

The Texas Department of Transportation said it will install the first two of 10 arches on the east end of the bridge this upcoming week. A spokesman said the prefabricated arches give this project a more rapid timeline.

"So instead of having the bridge closed for the whole year, we reduced that to something less than five months," TxDOT spokesman Val Lopez explained.

Through next Tuesday, Lancaster Avenue will be the detour.

"We feel confident that Lancaster Avenue can accommodate the traffic," Lopez said.

But this is just a small test for Lancaster Avenue, the drivers, and even the businesses. Starting next month, the bridge will be closed through Thanksgiving to install the remaining arches.

E-mail jpanicker@wfaa.com

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