FORT HOOD, Texas - An $18 million construction project of a bridge over Clear Creek on Turkey Run Road is nearing completion here.
The 840-foot long, 64-foot wide bridge spans an area where, in 2017, a Fort Hood Soldier was swept away in flood waters after driving around temporary barriers at the low-water crossing here. The Soldier’s body was never recovered, and a rescue/recover diver also lost her life in the aftermath.
That tragic loss of life resulted in the installation receiving funding to address a very serious safety concern. Brian Dosa, director of the post's Directorate of Public Works, said this new structure takes safety to another level, as it will also be used by tactical vehicles.
“There is a tank trail that goes from the DRRF (Deployment Readiness Reaction Field) to the railhead that goes along Turkey Run Road, so you can see on the bridge there are two lanes for … POV (privately-owned vehicle) traffic, and there’s a separate lane for … combat vehicles,” Dosa said during a visit to the site, July 22. “That is a first.”
The construction project began in September of 2020. The James Construction Group, headquartered in Belton, were contracted to build the bridge. They look forward to the day when they can see a tank cross over it.
“It’s completely new (to us),” Brian Chaffe, operations manager for the construction group, said. “I hope we get footage of it. It’s going to be a great moment of achievement.”
Chaffe said dealing with the recent heat wave, coupled with an on-going drought, created some challenges for his construction crews, but the project remains on schedule.
Andy Bury, administrative contracting officer with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, said the project is 95% complete.
“As far as the work we’re doing today,” Bury said, “we’re placing concrete on drainage swales, we’ve started the demolition on the low-water crossing and we’re doing some clean up around the bridge itself.”
What exactly are drainage swales?
“It’s a drainage ditch,” Bury said with a smile. “It’s what a civil engineer calls a ditch.”
A mile-long stretch of Turkey Run Road leading up to the bridge is also being renovated ahead of the bridge’s grand opening this fall. Dosa said that project, a separate $2 million contract, is set to be completed about a month after the bridge itself is complete.
“We’ve demolished and taken out all the old pavement; some of it was concrete below the asphalt,” Dosa said. “This is all going to be repaved before we can open the bridge up. It’s going to be October before the road is complete, but it looks like the bridge will wrap up in September.”
The Turkey Runs Road Bridge is just part of Fort Hood’s ongoing efforts to eventually eliminate all low-water crossing areas on paved roads throughout the installation.
“We’re not there yet,” Dosa said, “but it’s a step in the right direction.”