Completion of Rio Hondo Bridge Renovations Pushed Back to Summertime

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RIO HONDO – The estimated completion of the renovations of the Rio Hondo Lift Bridge has gone from two weeks to at least two more months.

Business owners in Rio Hondo tell CHANNEL 5 NEWS they feel they're being toyed with.

"I feel like they are just playing games with us,” said Maria Lucio, owner of the Pizzeria Express Maria Lucio.

Selene Castro, co-owner of Noelia's, echoed the sentiment.

"I feel like they are just playing with us because they know we are a small town," she said.

Lucio and Castro were looking forward to the completion of the renovations of the bridge in the next two weeks.

That would've helped capitalize on boaters from the upper Valley headed to Arroyo City, Lucio said.

She said now that the plans have changed yet again, it's back to figuring out how not to shut down.

"Month after month, you're figuring out how to make your payments for the next month because they told you it would be finished for the next month. And that's how we've been since October," Lucio said.

Texas Department of Transportation spokesman Octavio Saenz said the bridge must be safe and reliable in order for the project to be deemed complete.

He said it was determined that additional work was needed in order for that to happen and it will also cost $441,000 more.

Castro said they've already cut menu items and even staff to stay afloat. She said the state didn't take into consideration the impact this renovation would have on the locals.

"They just started building just like that, without planning. That's what I see. They just got here and shut things down they didn't care,” she told us.

Castro said revenue at Noelia's has declined 60 percent.

According to TxDOT, the new completion date is now set for late June or July.

Saenz said the completion date could be pushed back even more if there are weather delays.

The total cost of the project is now estimated at $13 million.

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