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Yale Street Bridge load limit reduced again

From the inbox, via CitizensNet:

Yale Street Bridge Load Limit Further Reduced by TxDOT

City of Houston Takes Proactive Steps to Monitor Bridge Usage

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has reduced the load limit on the Yale Street Bridge just south of Interstate 10 from 8,000 lbs. per single axle to 3,000 lbs. per single axle. A standard passenger car with two single axles and a maximum weight of 6,000 lbs. (3,000 lbs. x 2 axles) would meet the new limit, but certain pick-up trucks and sport utility vehicles may exceed the new limit.

The change is not indicative of any recent deterioration in the bridge’s physical condition. It remains safe, but should be used within the new posted load limits. All required signs are now posted, north and south of the bridge, establishing the new load limit.

The Houston Public Works and Engineering Department is exploring options for additional signage to better notify motorists of the new limits. The Houston Police Department will continue to monitor traffic in the area to assure the load limits are enforced. Additionally, the City of Houston will, initially, monitor bridge traffic using a donated camera to assess compliance with the new limits.

The Yale Street Bridge is on a TxDOT prioritized list for statewide funding for replacement, with construction anticipated to start in late 2016. In the meantime, the Houston Public Works and Engineering Department will continue to routinely inspect the bridge for any change in conditions and intends to perform low-cost rehabilitative actions that will allow the bridge load restrictions to be raised back to those previously posted.

With the completion of Koehler between Heights and Yale, there is now an easy alternative route around the Yale Street Bridge via the Heights Boulevard Bridge for northbound and southbound truck traffic. The Heights Boulevard Bridge does not have load limits.

For more information contact Alvin Wright at Alvin.wright@houstontx.gov.

See here, here, and here for the background. The Chron explains what this means in practical terms.

That will put most sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks – even some minivans – over the limit, said Sgt. Teresa Curry with the Houston Police Department’s truck enforcement unit.

“The problem is that pretty much everyone is going to be violating that provision,” she said.

Janice Evans-Davis, spokeswoman for Mayor Annise Parker, said Friday that city and state engineers have determined that the bridge is safe but cautioned that people need to be aware of the load limit.

“If your vehicle is outside the limit, we urge you to go one block east and use the Heights Boulevard bridge as an alternative,” she said. “It doesn’t have a load limit.”

[…]

Given the impossibility of going after every violator, Curry said police will focus on large trucks, which arguably do the most damage to the bridge that’s near the new Heights-area Walmart under construction at 111 Yale.

“My theory is that the 80,000-pound truck is much more of a problem than the smaller vehicle,” she said. “Our enforcement efforts will be directed to trucks that are disregarding the signs.”

Enforcement will include having truck scales at the bridge, said HPD spokesman Victor Senties.

I’d avoid this if at all possible. This press release from RUDH has more.

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