Open for traffic: Bridge has been closed since January

SAN BENITO — The Rio Grande Street Bridge is open to the public and ready to be used after some major improvements.

Deemed unsafe by city officials, the bridge on Rio Grande Street was closed in January.

The city closed the bridge to traffic for a two and a half month period due to unsafe conditions of the structure.

With that work now completed, officials have determined more improvements are needed in that area, and will begin upgrading infrastructure and Rio Grande Street from the bridge to McCullough Street.

Public Works Director Adan Gonzalez is asking motorists in that area to drive carefully because crews still will be working to replace water and sewer lines, sidewalks and curbs.

If weather permits, work on this job should take about two weeks.

City leaders made the decision to close the bridge indefinitely as a precautionary measure to prevent possible accidents.

Officials said 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.

After meeting with commissioners in January, Interim City Manager Art Rodriguez was given permission to proceed with engineers who together came up with a plan of action to repair the bridge.

Rodriguez discovered at that time the erosion issues on the bridge support.

“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 buses pass by. It is a serious problem and we don’t want any accidents or problems.”

Buses going to the school in that area were rerouted but will now be able to use the newly restructured bridge.

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