Bicentennial overpass to close for more than a year; demolition planned
Updated 10:40 a.m.
The Bicentennial Boulevard bridge in McAllen will be closed to traffic beginning at 9 p.m. Sunday to September 2019, according to a news release from the Texas Department of Transportation. Traffic will be closed between Jackson and Savannah avenues.
TxDOT is demolishing the Bicentennial overpass and will announce details on the project later this month, the release states.
Access to the eastbound and westbound frontage roads on Interstate 2/U.S. Highway 83 from Bicentennial Boulevard will remain open.
Since the overpass is a throughway to the McAllen airport, the city of McAllen on its Facebook page suggested alternate routes to the airport: Main, 23rd, 10th and 2nd streets.
A ramp that comes off the frontage road and leads to a “T” at the top of the overpass has been closed since summer 2009 after the interchange there became the site of several deadly wrecks.
The latest was in April 2009, when 19-year-old Benjamin Rodriguez of McAllen smashed through the temporary barriers at the bottom of the access ramp, which were placed there as officials tried to figure out what to do with the ramp, that led from the westbound Expressway 83 frontage road to a T intersection with the Bicentennial overpass. Rodriguez sped to the top of the ramp and, rather than turning left or right, crashed through a concrete barrier and plummeted onto the expressway’s westbound lanes.
Six people had died in crashes at the interchange since January 2005, according to The Monitor archives.
TxDOT officials had maintained the ramp — opened in 1999 as part of an Expressway 83 expansion through McAllen — was properly designed and safe for motorists.
After three Mission teens — including the daughter of then Mission Police Chief Leo Longoria — died on New Year’s Day 2005, engineers added warning signs and flashing lights. Following another fatal crash in November 2008, officials said they would close the ramp late at night.