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Floodwaters damage bridge over Trinity

By BOBBY HORN JR.
KENEFICK—Floods along Trinity River made some unexpected trouble last week when rising water forced a partial collapse of the Union Pacific Bridge that crosses the river at Kenefick.
According to Liberty County Emergency Management Coordinator Ken DeFoor during the morning of June 20 rising floodwaters caused one the concrete piers that support the bridge to collapse, causing a sag in the middle.
Joe Arbona, a spokesman for UP said they were alerted at 9:40 a.m. When a crew arrived at the bridge they found one of the supports missing, presumably washed away by the current.
Arbona said that bridge was not in use at the time of the collapse, so there was no injury to personnel. However, injury to trade is another matter. On a typical day an estimated 20 freight trains run this line between Beaumont and Houston. The line is also a popular route for Amtrac passenger trains.
Derek Townley, a reconstruction supervisor with UP said that repairs should take about two weeks to complete. During this time traffic will be diverted to the line that runs through Liberty and Dayton along Highway 90.
Despite a break in the rain on Saturday and Sunday, DeFoor said that flooding still continues to be a problem along the river. On Saturday, DeFoor announced the following roads were either closed or covered with water: CR 2550 in Old Snake River has water over the road as you come into the subdivision and over the first bridge on CR 2255; Dayton Lake Estates on CR 2331 has water over the road and in place is about 4 feet deep; Kenefick Plaza on CR 344 has about one foot of water over the road and The River Bend RV Park in Liberty has about one foot of water covering the area. Also, F.M. 563 south of Liberty is closed due to high water just inside the City Limits of Liberty; roads leading into Knight’s Forest are only passable in high profile vehicles; Water is over the roads in the rear of Simmons Bottom off CR 2326; the entrance into Trinity River Lake Estates is closed and only accessible to high profile vehicles and roads into Mason Lake Estates are closed and only accessible to high profile vehicles.
On Monday, the gage at the Highway 90 entrance to West Liberty was reading 28.76 feet. Flood stage was reached at 26 feet. The flooding has been attributed to a higher than normal discharge rate from the Lake Livingston Dam. On Monday the discharge rate was 60,800 cubit feet per second. Anything above 30,000 CFS will cause flooding in low-lying areas along the river.