Officials close down unsafe bridge in San Benito

SAN BENITO — The bridge on Rio Grande Street is unsafe.

City officials made the decision Thursday to close the bridge until further notice as a precautionary measure to prevent possible accidents.

Officials say the instability of the bridge was revealed after a routine inspection found structural concerns.

The bridge is located between Rio Grande Avenue and the corner of 2nd and Fresno streets.

The bridge support has erosion issues, said Interim City Manager Art Rodriguez, who decided on the bridge closure after viewing first hand the condition of the structure.

“After an inspection of the bridge, it was decided that it is unsafe at this time and that the Rio Grande Street bridge should be shut down from Fresno Street to Second Street,” he said.

“When I was out there looking at it, I saw two school busses pass by. It is a serious problem and we don’t want any accidents or problems.”

The bridge spans a Cameron County Drainage District ditch that takes water runoff away from the Rio Grande Street area.

A more formal evaluation was conducted by a professional engineer yesterday, and a plan of action to make repairs is now underway.

No one is allowed to drive on the bridge, officials warn.

Barricades have been placed along the roadway to prevent motorists from crossing the bridge.

The city is asking for the cooperation of people traveling on Rio Grande Street and encourage them to respect the placement of the barricades.

Ignoring the barricades could lead to danger.

It is illegal to remove safety barricades, Rodriguez said. Persons found moving the barriers can be ticketed and face prosecution and a fine up to $500.