BALLINGER - Both sides of two bridges, which have been under construction for more than two years, opened up to traffic last week, and officials with the Texas Department of Transportation say the projects are nearing completion.

BALLINGER - Both sides of two bridges, which have been under construction for more than two years, opened up to traffic last week, and officials with the Texas Department of Transportation say the projects are nearing completion.

The projects included the widening of of all three bridges and the replacement of of bridge decks over Elm Creek, the Colorado River and the South Orient Railroad/FM 382. The project extended a little after the targeted completion date of June on both the Elm Creen and South Orient bridges. The Colorado River bridge was completed in April.

The project, was awarded by TxDOT to J.H. Strain and Sons, Inc. for a cost of $14.6 million, but increased to about $15 million.

The Elm Creek and Railroad bridges have been widened 12 feet, while the bridge over the Colorado River was only widened 1.5 feet.

Currently, TxDOT estimates daily traffic over the Colorado River Bridge at more than 8,700 vehicles per day, with 5,600 vehicles crossing the Elm Creek and the South Orient Railroad bridges per day.

Modifications for the Colorado River bridge include replacing the deck, widening the lanes and eliminating the median barrier to leave only a double yellow line.

At the Elm Creek and South Orient Railroad bridges the renovation project includes new decks and the installation of new columns at the sides of the bridge to widen traffic lanes.

In July of 2013, TxDOT announced the projects which included the renovation of all three bridges on U.S. Highway 67 in Ballinger.

According to TxDOT estimates, the renovations will update the bridges for the next 20 years. Traffic projections for the Colorado River bridge are expected to be 12,000 per day in 20 years, while crossings at the Elm Creek and South Orient Railroad bridges are projected to be 7,560 per day in 20 years.