Suspension Bridge

The Waco Suspension Bridge is up for a $5.5 million renovation. Initial testing for the renovation will cause temporary closures starting Monday.

Staff photo — Rod Aydelotte, file

Expect a few closures on the Waco Suspension bridge this month as engineers test it in preparation for a $5.5 million makeover.

The bridge will be closed this week from Monday to noon Friday as crews drill to bedrock from the middle of the historical bridge.

Work will continue the following two weeks with partial closures, but the bridge will be fully open on weekends.

The Waco City Council will consider a recommendation Tuesday from the downtown Tax Increment Financing Board to spend $5.5 million in TIF funds to rehabilitate the 148-year-old icon.

The council will meet at the Waco Convention Center’s Bosque Theater at 3 p.m. for a work session and 6 p.m. for a business session.

The project, which would start construction early next year, would replace the wooden decking with a waterproof surface, repair deep cracks in the bridge towers, reinforce the anchors and replace all of the steel cables.

Deputy City Manager Wiley Stem said the bridge is worth the investment, especially as a revived Elm Avenue and the Doris Miller Memorial start to draw people across the river.

“It ties east and west together,” Stem said. “The bridge rehab is going to be a game-changer. We’ve kind of let it go too long. I’m really proud the council has decided to step up and fund the whole thing at once.”

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the council will consider $1.3 million in TIF funds for the Webster Avenue streetscape project and $2.1 million for underpass lighting along Interstate 35.

J.B. Smith is the the Tribune-Herald managing editor. A native of Sulphur Springs, he attended Southwestern University and joined the Tribune-Herald in 1997. He and his wife, Bethany, live in Waco and have two children.

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