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Bridges of Bell and Coryell Counties – How Are They Holding Up?

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Earlier this morning while getting coffee, one of my coworkers was telling me about the overpass that collapsed in Salado in the spring of 2015. That got me wondering about how safe our bridges are in Bell and Coryell County, or the entire state of Texas for that matter. TxDOT can help us with these numbers for 2016.

Let me first get a couple definitions out of the way:

  • On-system bridges are owned and maintained by the TxDOT highway system.
  • Off-system bridges are owned and maintained by a county, city or other local governmental unit.

***Note: Structurally deficient or Functionally obsolete does not mean these bridges are unsafe for public use. It means they are eligible for funding and don’t carry the same capacity as they originally did when first built.

On-System Bridges – run by TxDOT

There are 390 on-system bridges in Bell County. Of that number, 44 of these bridges are considered ‘functionally obsolete’, meaning it fails to meet one of the following criteria: deck geometry, load-carrying capacity, vertical or horizontal clearances, approach roadway alignment.

One bridge is considered sub-standard for load only. Unlike other cases, this label is used because the bridge was not designed to carry the legal load limit and not because the structure has deteriorated.

In Coryell County there are 112 listed bridges. Only one bridge is considered structurally deficient, four are functionally obsolete and two are labeled sub-standard for load only.

Off-System Bridges – run by local government

According to TxDOT, there are 209 off-system bridges in Bell County. Five are labeled structurally deficient and 41 bridges are functionally obsolete.

In Coryell County there are 27 off-system bridges. Three bridges are called structurally deficient, two are functionally obsolete and three are sub-standard for load only.


TxDOT spent $525.1 million for on-system bridge maintenance, replacement and construction of new bridges in 2016.

What bridges around here do you want to see get some TLC from TxDOT? Are there any bridges you’re too afraid to cross?

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