GATESVILLE — Texas highway officials are mulling a new plan for replacing a 110-year-old bridge that would bump the project cost to $1 million but would spare the city of Gatesville the prohibitive cost of moving water and sewer lines, City Manager Roger Mumby told Coryell County commissioners Monday.

Texas Department of Transportation engineers have discussed replacing the old Leon River Bridge for years, but the plan changed in recent weeks to an offer the city cannot accept, Mumby said,

Under the latest TxDOT proposal, the new bridge would not be built where the old bridge spans the river, but would be wider and cross at a different angle to eliminate a 90-degree turn.

In the path of the new bridge is a utility trestle that parallels the old bridge.

The city would have to move the utilities at an estimated cost of $430,000, more than half the cost of the original $750,000 project, Mumby said,

“We are no longer interested in building a bridge if we have to move the utilities,” he said. “We offered (a plan) to have the new bridge go around to the north of the utilities. The city owns the property on both sides, so easement is not a problem.”

The project’s cost would go up to $1 million, Mumby said. The city’s share of 10 percent, or $100,000, would have to be paid in advance before construction could start.

The state’s share would also be 10 percent of the project, with the bulk being paid with federal highway dollars.

Even if all parties agree, the project would not start before 2017.

The replacement is needed to provide a reliable alternate east-west route across the river if a larger bridge on nearby U.S. Highway 84 is closed or blocked.

Burn ban

The commissioners ordered a ban on outdoor burning to start Monday. Anyone conducting a controlled burn before the ban takes effect is asked to call the county sheriff at 254-865-7201.

Sheriff Johnny Burks said false alarm calls related to controlled burns take up deputies’ time and could be reduced if the department is aware of who is burning.

Contact Tim Orwig at

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