State Highway 78 reopens over Red River

SH 78 and its Red River bridge reopened Monday.
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BONHAM, Texas -- The highway 78 bridge that connects Fannin County and Bryan County is now open, as of Monday, much to the approval of locals who say the closure sometimes cost them hours of extra drive time.

Kimberly Fuhrmeister works at Red River Grocery, a popular stop for truck drivers crossing over the state line.

"We've been suffering for the last month and a half with the bridge being closed," she said. "On the average day we'd do between 3,500 and 5 grand a day, and with the bridge being out, we'd be lucky if we were breaking 800 a day. That's the drastic difference it's made on our business."

The grocery was forced to cut its hours in half. "Our business has probably dropped 80 percent," Fuhrmeister said.

"We feel grateful, blessed," Fuhmeister said. "It's an answer to our prayers, because without that bridge being open, we will not survive here."

This season's heavy rain and flooding washed a huge hole on the Oklahoma side of SH 78 bridge, back in June.

The $1.2 million project to fix it was completed by Cummins Construction Company on Saturday."At 10:30 a.m. they gave us the okay," David Hardy of Cummins Construction Co. said. "I sent a crew down here to start taking down signs, and about 11, 11:30 a.m. it was open. It probably eliminates about a 50 mile detour for a lot of folks living around here."

Oklahoma Department of Transportation and Texas Department of Transportation inspectors approved the completed work using SONAR equipment.

Trish Cockrill says the closure had turned a 1 hour round trip to visit her dad, into a 2 hour trip. "It's going to make my life a lot easier, and my son and my daughter in law's," she said.

The work was finished in 15 days, six days ahead of schedule.

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