Pedestrian bridge on San Jacinto Blvd closed down for repairs

Savana Dunning

A pedestrian bridge behind the Engineering Teaching Center closed down last Wednesday after a routine inspection determined the bridge needed repair.

Michael Carmagnola, director of Project Management and Construction Services, said bridges on campus are routinely checked by structural engineers for safety. An inspection of this bridge earlier this year determined the piers connecting the bridge to land eroded from water in Waller Creek to the point where construction services deemed it necessary to repair the damage by adding concrete under the bridge.

“Over time, concrete will deteriorate, and this is just normal wear and tear,” Carmagnola said. “As the concrete deteriorates and there’s erosion nearby, we will usually shore that up with additional concrete and steel to beef up the support that’s there.”

Despite the bridge being closed off, Carmagnola said the it is not in danger of collapsing. Foot traffic has been limited while construction services inspect the bridge.

“The bridge is not in imminent danger of failure, and it is not unsafe to walk on,” Carmagnola said. “It’s totally fine. We just basically didn’t necessarily want people back and forth on the bridge while we were trying to get work done.”

Laurie Lentz, communications manager for Financial and Administrative Services, said a section of the adjacent vehicle bridge has been set aside to serve as a temporary walkway so as to not impede access to campus.

“We’ve set up a few barricades and created a pedestrian lane on that vehicle bridge so people aren’t having to go out of their way,” Lentz said. “(Pedestrians only have to) walk two feet to the west and get on the vehicle bridge,”

Saurabh Tandon, a petroleum engineering graduate student, said he regularly uses the walkway to get around campus.

“I cross (the bridge) about once a day to get coffee,” Tandon said. “I’m pretty happy that they caught it before something happened.” 

Currently the bridge is undergoing more inspection. Carmagnola said until testing is finished, it is hard to tell when construction on the bridge will be completed.

“Right now we’re closed for the additional inspection,” Carmagnola said. “When that is complete, we’ll make a determination whether it makes sense to reopen it or play it safe and just leave it as is because we’re queuing up and getting ready to do construction work.”