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Yale Street Bridge load limit reduced by TxDOT

This hit my inbox on Wednesday afternoon:

Yale Street Bridge Load Limit Reduced by TxDOT

A recent assessment of the Yale Street Bridge over White Oak Bayou performed by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDot) has resulted in a reduction in the bridge’s maximum traffic load rating.

The assessment was performed under the state’s program to monitor bridge safety across the streets and highway network called BRINSAP (Bridge Inventory, Inspection and Appraisal Program).

The Yale Street Bridge rating was reduced from a previous maximum weight load of 40,000 lbs and 21,000 lbs for tandem axle to a new rating of 8,000 lbs per single axle and 10,000 lbs per tandem axle. This lower weight limit does not impact use of the bridge by passenger vehicles or small trucks.

However, due to the new ratings, the City of Houston is restricting truck use of the bridge, effective immediately. This restriction will apply to all commercial truck traffic, including standard semi-tractor trailers, large panel vans, delivery trucks and buses.

The Houston Fire Department (HFD), Metro and the Houston Independent School District have been notified and have made route changes as necessary.

Signs noting the restrictions and directing trucks to Heights Boulevard south of I-10 were installed on Tuesday, November 22, 2011. HPD’s Truck Enforcement Unit has been notified and their assistance in enforcement has been requested.

The bridge is safe and is expected to continue to provide service over the long term to the public for traffic within the load ratings.

That’s a pretty remarkable change. The RUDH folks have been yelling about the Yale Street Bridge for months now, mostly out of concern for the truck traffic that the Ainbinder Wal-Mart will generate. One presumes this will have some effect on that.

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8 Comments

  1. MB says:

    The City has been so out to lunch on this project. Green lighting every permit and funding construction as well. Promising to “get ahead of” infrastructure issues and then being blindsided by a subpar bridge on the main route to all this new development and all the related negative impacts redirected traffic will have on a historic neighborhood. It’s utterly stunning that the City’s stance is to remain silent while all of this spins out of control.

    Why wasn’t the bridge addressed prior to RUDH discovering it and yelling about it for a year (not merely months)? Why was the bridge upgrade not included within the $6,000,000 provided within the 380 Agreement? Since they’re allowed to redistribute monies within the agreement, why didn’t they pivot to address the public safety concern known as the Yale St. bridge? They wouldn’t want to put public safety ahead of relationships with developers, would they? The public is left holding the bag and all the costs to make it work for Walmart.

  2. Jules says:

    What a mess. And from what I’ve seen the trucks will not be able to make the right turn from south-bound Heights onto the new Koehler Street extension without going across both lanes of traffic on Koehler and up onto and over the opposite curb.

    What kind of due diligence is the City doing on these projects they deem worthy of millions of dollars in 380 monies? It looks like none.

  3. VST says:

    Once again proving this development is wrong for an urban neighborhood.

  4. MB says:

    Has the City factored the delay and congestion of the at-grade Heights rail crossings into the truck re-routing? These ‘solutions’ are literally choking the Heights off from areas South of the I10. How are first responders expected to penetrate this mess to address incidents in this area? How will a firetruck respond to accidents on or near this bridge if their vehicle exceeds the load limits? It appears none of this has been considered.

  5. Jules says:

    The Ainbinder 380 is called an INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT AND FINANCING AGREEMENT. Since it’s clearly not about the infrastructure, it’s gotta be about the financing.

    One payment option has the City paying Ainbinder 10% interest.

    The interest starts accruing when the Developer spends the money. Does that apply to the land for the Koehler Extension (which does not solve the truck problem) that Ainbinder bought over a year ago? That land is listed at $1,035,000 in the Ainbinder 380. One year’s interest at 10% is $103,500.

    Does the City already owe more than $100,000 in interest? It’s unlikely that COH will exercise it’s audit option to find out.

    Who, exactly, does this Agreement benefit?

  6. BFGConsultingHouston says:

    380 agreements should really be called “Kickback Agreements”.
    Whatever “work” that $6 million paid for could have been done just as well, and at less cost, by city employees.
    Micheal Ainbinder was quoted in the news as saying that he didn’t really need the money, and that his developement could go forward very well without it.

  7. […] may recall that last November the load limit on the Yale Street Bridge was reduced by TxDOT to 8,000 lbs per single axle and 10,000 lbs per tandem axle, which has […]

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