Stephens County officials in North Texas declared a state of disaster on Friday and took the drastic step of closing the crucial “Mile Long Bridge” over Hubbard Creek Lake after an emergency inspection uncovered alarming structural issues. The closure, effective immediately and until further notice, has significant implications for residents relying on the bridge, which serves as the primary link between the cities of Breckenridge and Albany, located on opposite sides of the lake.
The emergency measures were set in motion after a local fisherman observed a portion of the bridge collapsing on Thursday night and promptly reported the incident, according to Shelly Womack from KTAB-TV. In response, the Stephens County Sheriff’s Office swiftly contacted the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to conduct a thorough inspection of the damage. Officials, posting on the Stephens County official Facebook page, emphasized the gravity of the situation, stating that the structural issues were severe and rapidly deteriorating, rendering the roadway unsafe for public use. Consequently, the decision was made to close the bridge in the interest of public safety.
The closure, as reported by Womack, poses a significant challenge for approximately 15 percent of Stephens County’s residents, cutting off their most direct access to emergency services. Response times for these residents may now be extended to 45 minutes or more. To mitigate potential risks, emergency personnel have been strategically deployed west of the bridge to offer assistance if required.
Motorists accustomed to using the Mile Long Bridge for commuting between Breckenridge and Albany are urged to take alternative routes. A detour has been suggested, directing drivers to travel along US 183 to FMs 576 and 601. According to Google Maps, this alternative route adds about 10 miles to the usual journey. Another option involves taking a gravel path, turning from FM 576 to FMs 292, 290, and 294. Further updates and guidance are anticipated from TxDOT, Stephens County, and Breckenridge officials as they work to address the repercussions of the sudden bridge closure.