By: Len Denton
In an effort to ensure that Georgetown residents are kept informed about the keys issues affecting the Austin Avenue bridges, the Alliance team has compiled a list of FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions).
About the Austin Avenue Bridges Project
The City of Georgetown has launched Austin Avenue Bridges Project, a study of the Austin Avenue traffic corridor, which includes the two historic Austin Avenue bridges crossing the San Gabriel River. The purpose of the study is to determine the future disposition of these bridges as part of the corridor’s future needs. The City’s planning staff is currently evaluating four options regarding the Austin Avenue bridges. These are:
- Do nothing to the bridges
- Do short-term repairs (this will not extend the useful life of the bridges)
- Do longer-term repairs (this will extend the useful life of the bridges)
- Replace the bridges
The Most Frequently Asked Questions
The following is a short list of the most frequently asked questions, along with their answers. A more comprehensive list of FAQs can be found at alliancegeorgetown.org/bridges-faqs/.
Are the bridges safe right now?
Answer: Yes. According to TxDOT, which is responsible for inspecting the bridges every two years, the bridges are totally safe for traffic.
I’ve heard that the bridges are structurally deficient. Is this true?
Answer: Not true. The term “Structurally Deficient” is a definition established by the technical standards of the National Bridge Inspection Standards, which is administered locally by TxDOT. To be structurally deficient, a bridge must receive an inspection score of 4 or less. The Austin Avenue bridges received a score of 5. Therefore, according to TxDOT, the bridges are NOT structurally deficient. It now appears that City’s engineering consultant presented information to the public on this matter was incorrect – we expect this to be changed by the city moving forward.
Is it true that TxDOT recently reduced the load rating on the bridges?
Answer: The load rating was initially reduced by TxDOT to 48,000 pounds following their inspection in 2013. However, on May 2, 2016, TXDOT informed city officials and their engineering consultants that the load rating for the bridges has been restored to 68,000 pounds. The City recently decided to keep the bridges’ load ratings posted at 48,000 pounds, instead of the TxDOT recommended load limit of 68,000 pounds.
For the complete list of FAQs, visit: alliancegeorgetown.org/bridges-faqs/.