Road closure in Bells causing headaches for drivers

By  | 

BELLS, Tex. (KXII) - Folks who live north of the railroad track in Bells have had to find to find a different route to get to town, after a semi that was too tall crashed into the bridge and caused damage to the railroad.

Some say what was a 1 minute drive is now much longer.

"We're a mile away, and we gotta go 20 miles to get there," said Bells resident Michael Cothran.

"Its caused us to have to go a mile and a half down the road, in order to go another mile and a half down this way, just to go to the store," said Bells resident John Brown.

A half mile stretch on highway 69 is closed to traffic in both directions.

The only short cut drivers could take is McFarland Street, but even that is blocked off because it passes through 69.

Even this gas truck had to figure out its way around the closure through a residential neighborhood.

"Its sent a lot of traffic this way, its caused people to be flying up and down our roads," said Brown.

A TxDOT representative says the semi's load that hit the bridge on Wednesday knocked loose the steel underneath the tracks, and the steel was hanging over the road.

Crews have spent the day putting that steel back in place.

In the meantime, this Bells resident has had a difficult time getting to a family member's home.

"I don't even know which way to take to come here," said Amber Fowler.

According to the Federal Highway Administration, bridges in rural areas must meet the minimum clearance of 14 feet.

Signs on both sides of the bridge says the clearance is 13'11", but according to the Texas DMV, that bridge has a clearance of 13'6".

Bells police say that stretch of road was just paved over the summer.

Residents are asking changes to be made ... soon.

"I think they should change the railroad tracks maybe, since its been happening a long time," said Fowler.

"It'd be wonderful if they opened up now, but I can't rush 'em," said Brown.

Town officials hopes the road will be back open by Friday evening.