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By Margaret Toal
For the Record 

Bridge keeps on swinging, for now


Last updated 6/13/2023 at 6:37pm

June 2022 the bridge was almost to completion

The East Roundbunch Road swing bridge has been working three months, now, and in May opened and closed 41 times. Orange County Road Engineer Corey Oldbury gave Commissioners Court the information during a regular meeting on Tuesday.

The county has had problems with the old mechanisms on the swing bridge operating, especially with parts difficult to replace. In recent years, the swing bridge over Cow Bayou in Bridge City has had to be closed to vehicles and left open for bayou marine traffic because marine rules take precedence.

Oldbury said the bayou is so busy the bridge is opened 90 times a month. He joked that "Sometimes we have 90 openings but only 89 closings."

Orange County bought the used swing bridge in 1960 and installed it across the bayou as more petrochemical plants were built on FM 1006, known as Chemical Row. The bridge allowed easy access from the growing area of Bridge City to the plants.

County Judge John Gothia said people should prepare for more traffic on Cow Bayou in the near future with more openings of the swing bridge.

The new Golden Triangle Polymers plant of Chevron Phillips will be sending giant barges down the bayou. The barges will carry prefabricated pieces for construction of the new plant. The company is building a barge landing on the bayou south of the Highway 87 bridge into Bridge City. The pieces will be hauled by heavy-haul trucks to the nearby construction site of the $8.5 billion plant.

The barge dock will be on the south side of the Highway 87 historic drawbridge, so that bridge will not need to be open for the construction barges.

Also during the meeting, the court accepted a donation from Chevron Phillips for 10 acres of land next to the county airport. The land will become a site for the future point of distribution for the Precinct 3 Road and Bridge Department.

Judge Gothia said the company bought the land for some plans originally to tie in to the plant construction across the street, however the company did not need the land. He said the county asked if the land could be donated, and last week the corporate board of directors approved the donation.

He said the land, though adjacent to the Orange County Airport, is not controlled by FAA development rules.

The court's agenda had included a vote to approve the final plat for the new Orange Gardens subdivision, but Engineer Oldbury said the process was not complete. The 14.5 acres of land that are being developed is along FM 105 west of the Highway 62 intersection.

The acreage is in the city of Orange extraterritorial jurisdiction and the city also has an approval over the development. Oldbury said the city and the Orange County Drainage District have approved the plans. The final county plat approval will allow the developer to start building houses.

The plat is for the first phase of the subdivision and includes space for 75 houses. The second phase plans call for an additional 75 house. The acreage is in the Bridge City ISD and County Precinct 3. The Orangefield Water Supply Company will provide water and sewer services.

The subdivision is a short drive to the new Chevron Phillips Golden Triangle Polymers plant.

Orange County Sheriff's Captain Jim Eisenstein, who oversees the county jail, said the jail recently passed the inspection by the Texas Commission on Jail Standards. He said in-person inspectors usually do not visit now because of a cut in personnel. He said the commission called one day and asked for a number of documents the next day.

The county sent the documents with its statistics and was approved. The captain credited the jail staff, especially the medical staff, for their work. He said the jail has open positions for correction officers.


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