With Brazos Street bridge gone, officials consider a different approach

The Brazos Street bridge at Spur 527 was in the process of being rebuilt, but now city officials are rethinking that plan. (Courtesy Houston Public Works)
The Brazos Street bridge at Spur 527 was in the process of being rebuilt, but now city officials are rethinking that plan. (Courtesy Houston Public Works)

The Brazos Street bridge at Spur 527 was in the process of being rebuilt, but now city officials are rethinking that plan. (Courtesy Houston Public Works)

On hold since December, the reconstruction of the Brazos Street bridge on Spur 527 has presented an opportunity to Houston officials to rethink the area as a pedestrian-friendly green space.

At a community meeting Feb. 10, Houston Public Works officials gave residents near the bridge a look at three possible scenarios, all involving taking the bridge offline permanently. The bridge was originally closed in July over concerns about falling debris. A $4 million reconstruction project began in October and removed the entire concrete deck.

"The concept involves alternatives from replacing the bridge deck as was originally planned, to an alternative that would remove both the Brazos and Bagby street connectors to Spur 527," Deputy Director Jeffery Weatherford said. "Removing these connections has the added benefit of addressing one of the 12 intersections identified by Bike Houston and LINK Houston as the most challenging to traverse for bicyclists and pedestrians."

Residents were largely supportive of the idea, said Bill Marshall, the president of the Westmoreland Civic Association.

"It's obvious that since closing it, Louisiana [Street] is not overburdened, so there’s no reason to rebuild that ramp," he said. "We almost uniformly agree with the intent here—we don’t want the bridge rebuilt now or in the future."

While the concept has some details to be discussed, such as whether the green space officially becomes a city park and how it is maintained, residents like the idea of catering to pedestrians and tying the neighborhood together, he said.

If a new concept garners support, an amended contract would go before City Council for approval, officials said. One alternative includes keeping the steel bridge structure intact, creating potential for a public art installation. A cost for the proposals has not been developed, Weatherford said.

"If it were determined to not rebuild the Brazos Bridge, the goal would be the use the savings from the existing project to complete the remaining construction," he said.

More neighborhood discussions are planned, according to public works, with the goal of coming to a consensus by the end of February.

View the draft plans in the PDF from public works below.

By Matt Dulin

Matt joined Community Impact Newspaper in January 2018 and is the City Editor for Houston's Inner Loop editions.


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