HOUSTON – Heavy trucks and buses are driving over the Yale Street bridge despite load-limit warnings. One city councilman said it is a disaster waiting to happen.
Built in 1931, Yale Street’s bridge still connects traffic with new development. But, seeing banned trucks heavier than the 6,000-pound per two axle limit crossing one after another, followed by a 25,000-pound school bus, is making people like David Leftwich and his family afraid.
“I either go down Studewood or Montrose or take Heights (Boulevard) and just use those ways across White Oak Bayou,” Leftwich said. “I avoid (Yale Street’s bridge) altogether.”
“It is a disaster waiting to happen,” said C. O. Bradford, a Houston city councilman.
Last month, the Texas Department of Transportation lowered load limits on the bridge to 3,000-pounds per axle. It is safe for cars, but some pick-ups are too heavy to pass. There are warning signs. However, a letter and video clip of a loaded school bus crossing were sent to Houston’s mayor and city council asking that more be done.
“I think we need to look at maybe closing that bridge down until we can shore it up so vehicles we use everyday can cross that bridge,” Bradford said.
That would be a headache for drivers. Though, some don’t mind.
“If it’s necessary, yeah,” Leftwich said. “As somebody who is a resident of the Heights, it would be one less way in and out of the Heights. But, if it needs to be replaced, it needs to be replaced.
A Houston public works spokesman said load limits on the bridge exist to extend its life. He also said there is no cause for alarm as long as drivers follow the rules.