LINDALE, TX (KLTV) - The FM 849 bridge at Interstate 20, just north of Tyler, is now open to the public. The bridge was damaged back in November when an oversized tanker traveling westbound struck the underside of the overpass.
The Collin Street Bakery has been on the corner of FM 849 and I-20 since 2011. Store manager Paul Young says he remembers the day the oversized oil tanker damaged the bridge.
"It immediately cut our sales easily in half," Young said.
Residents went nearly five months without the bridge that connected two sides of the Lindale community together.
"It devastated as far as our local customers being able to get to us," Young said. "Many customers have also expressed that they would come more frequently had it not been for the bridge closure."
From the moment the bridge was damaged, the Texas Department of Transportation recognized the inconvenience not having the bridge would place on the community.
"We do have special processing in place that allows us to expedite projects such as this that have a big impact on the community," TxDOT district engineer of Tyler, Glenn Green said.
A process the Longview Bridges & Road company were happy to be a part of.
"It's been a rewarding challenge, we've worked many long days, many nights through many weekends," Longview Bridge & Road Vice President of Operation, Robert Adamson said. "Through two holiday seasons, Christmas and New Years, and our folks have really dedicated ourselves to this project."
Finishing the project ahead of schedule, the TxDOT and Longview Bridges & Road were pleased to give the community the great news.
"The impacts it's had, and its reopening now, it's going to make a huge difference to our business, our team and our customers," Young said.
While the bridge is open to the public, drivers will still see workers putting a few finishing touches on the bridge for the next few weeks.
According to TxDOT, the project cost an estimate of $4.6 million.