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How safe are the bridges in Ellis County?

ELLIS COUNTY – Texas has a statewide inventory of more than 55,000 bridges open to public traffic. The Texas Department of Transportation said in a 2020 report this is “significantly more than any other US state.”

Also of note, slightly more than half of the bridge inventory in Texas is 40 years old or older. It was noted the number of bridges in poor condition in the state has been reduced over the past 20 years and is currently one of the lowest in the country.

In Ellis County that same report indicated there are 659 bridges with a score of 90.89 regarding bridge condition.

Except for County Commissioner Lane Grayson, pct. 2 who did not return information regarding his precinct, here is the rundown of the bridges in Ellis County.


Precinct 4, Commissioner Kyle Butler

There are 223.2 miles in Pct. 4 and 25 bridges according to Butler, located in the north and western side of Ellis County.

“My precinct is the smallest in mileage, but the densest as far as population and traffic,” Butler said. 

“Precinct 4 is very unique for its size, we have a mixture of residential, farm and ranch, small and large businesses along with data centers, a large Rail Port, TSTC, and Navarro College.

Butler said all the bridges in his precinct are inspected every three years by the state.

“We then get a report back letting us know if there is any structural damage under the bridge while we are always watching the top structure,” Butler explained. “An example is wall, wing walls, removal of any debris, flat surface needing sealed and also guardrails along with damaged signage needing replaced or made visible to the eye traveling at 30 mph, keeping grass and limbs cut back, and sprayed weed kill.” 

And, with the ongoing maintenance, Butler said there is also currently bridge construction too.

“We are working on Little Creek bridge on South Hampton Road right now acquiring ROW around three sides of the bridge to start a new bridge replacement process in 2025. It will be wider due to all the added traffic and new development in that area. TXDOT-awarded contractors will be building the new bridge and Glenn Heights and Oak Leaf will be partnering with Ellis County to get this built.”  


Precinct 3, Commissioner Louis Ponder 

The newest commissioner to the seat, Ponder said according to TXDOT four bridges within his precinct have been identified to be replaced in the future. 

“At this time, they are at the beginning of the engineering stage and therefore will not be started within this year,” Ponder added. “Also, TXDOT inspects the bridges and evaluates the need for repair or replacement.”


Precinct 1, Commissioner Randy Stinson

Stinson said as part of his annual maintenance efforts, “We oversee the upkeep of 24 bridges within our jurisdiction.” 

Annually, Stinson said he receives a comprehensive report from TxDOT, which is channeled through the Engineering Department. The report explains the re-rating of bridges and provides crucial insights into necessary repairs or replacements in accordance with the recommendations outlined in the TxDOT engineering report. 

“Additionally, we allocate resources to address any emergent issues that may arise throughout the year,” Stinson said. “To date, we have addressed one emergent bridge issue repair this year on Novy Road.”

He also said it is important to note the bridge maintenance schedule is heavily reliant on the information and guidance provided by TXDOT and is limited to bridges and does not extend to those on state roads. 

Ellis County Press

208 S Central St. 
Ferris, TX 75125