COMAL COUNTY, Texas – Travelers driving down Highway 281 at the Guadalupe River in Comal County this Memorial Day weekend will notice a slight detour around the southbound bridge, as the iconic decades-old structure is undergoing repairs.
"The bridge structure itself is strong and sound. The skeleton is great. We just want to make sure the guts are still great," said Josh Donat, a spokesperson for the Texas Department of Transportation.
Donat describes the process like remodeling a house: stripping it down to the foundation and framing, then building it back up.
"We're going to keep the steel intact, but a lot of that is going to be refurbished and repainted, kind of, everything updated, " Donat said, including the driving surface.
The remodeling job is underway and should take about a year, but that means detours and puts drivers in a single narrow lane with concrete barriers on both sides going south around the bridge and one side of concrete barriers on a single lane going north.
"Hopefully, folks up there will get used to it real quick. A new light at the end of the tunnel will be all done and have it back open to two lanes each way," Donat said.
There is more light at the end of another "tunnel," as well. The one-lane quirky curve on the northbound side of Highway 281, a couple of miles north of the river where the old post office used to be, is about to be eliminated and turned into a two-lane road.
The single-lane detour had to be constructed when the road was first built since the post office was there. Now that the post office has a new home, workers can close the gap for new two lanes for northbound traffic. The construction will not affect any traffic flows, and that project should be completed by the end of the year.