New viaduct opens to traffic on Tuesday

U.S. 77 to be rerouted onto South Monroe Street as old bridge is replaced

Bill Spinks
Waxahachie Daily Light
Work was progressing in 2020 on the first of two new viaducts that will carry U.S. Highway 77 south of Waxahachie. Two-way traffic will be shifted to the new bridge (background) starting Tuesday. The old bridge (foreground) will be replaced with a new one that will open in the spring of 2022.

Work on replacing the U.S. Highway 77 viaduct south of downtown Waxahachie is finally at the stage where the first of two new bridges will be opened to traffic.

The Texas Department of Transportation has announced that, weather permitting, two-way traffic on U.S. 77 starting Tuesday, May 18 will be rerouted to South Monroe Street and the brand-new viaduct, in order to begin demolition of the old viaduct that connects with South Elm Street.

TxDOT public information officer Lisa Walzl said one northbound lane on the existing U.S. 77, or Elm Street, will remain open while the southbound side is being reconstructed. Several side streets, including Madison Street, Jefferson Street, Franklin Street and Water Street will be closed one at a time with detours during the construction at each of those streets.

The traffic pattern will be in place until the $21.6 million project, which began in 2019, is completed in the spring of 2022. Message boards have been placed to alert drivers of the new traffic pattern. TxDOT asks drivers to be aware in the work zone.

A new bridge will be built in place of the old viaduct, resulting in two new parallel bridges, one for each direction of traffic.

According to TxDOT, the existing 90-year-old viaduct has many structural deficiencies and is considered a safety hazard. Also, according to the agency, the existing U.S. 77 through downtown Waxahachie is inadequate to meet current and future traffic volumes, resulting in congestion and reduced mobility.

Once the project is completed in 2022, two lanes of northbound traffic on U.S. 77 will be routed on Elm Street, while two lanes of southbound traffic will use Monroe Street.