HOUSTON--The Texas Department of Transportation has reduced the weight limit on the Yale Street Bridge and now police are on the lookout for overweight trucks trying to cross what infrastructure experts call an accident waiting to happen.
For the second time in 12 months, the load limit on the bridge at Yale just south of I-10 has been lowered, prompting some community activists to call for it to be shut down altogether.
TXDOT has just reduced the load limit to 3,000-pounds per single axle with a maximum weight of 6,000 pounds—that’s less than what some trucks and SUVs weigh.
"This bridge now has the load limits of a lot of bad rural creek bridges in Texas. The difference: This is a major thoroughfare in Houston that connects I-10, 610 and down south. And the city has just permitted over 225 thousand square feet in retail," said Jeff Jackson, the director of Responsible Urban Development for Houston.
"What we’re really concerned about is not your average passenger car that’s going over the bridge back and forth to work every day. We’re concerned about the delivery trucks and semi-trucks coming off I-10 and exiting and turning on Yale Street to come to all of the development," said mayoral spokesperson Janice Evans.
Houston police officers are already enforcing the new restrictions.
"This bridge is violated multiple times an hour. Now that the limits are even lower, it’s going to be violated multiple times every five minutes," said Jackson.
RUDH wants it shut down entirely.
"We can’t shut it down because that would create a terrible traffic problem," said Evans.
The city says it will be making low-cost repairs in coming weeks that could result in the load limit being increased again.
Construction on a replacement bridge isn’t even expected to begin until late 2016.