Walmart Development Compromising Yale Street Bridge Stability, Critics Say

Categories: Spaced City

bridgeUSE032212.jpg
Will Walmart make bad things worse?
Jeff Jackson, director of Responsible Urban Development for Houston, thinks that something apocalyptic could happen to the Yale Street Bridge, especially when construction of the controversial new Heights-area Walmart is completed.

In November, the Texas Department of Transportation performed a study of the circa 1931 bridge, which crosses over White Oak Bayou. (According to the City of Houston's Public Works and Engineering Department, area bridges are inspected biannually via the TxDOT Bridge Inventory, Inspection and Appraisal Program.)

Says Jackson, "When they did the analysis of the bridge -- this time with the plans knowing exactly how it was built -- it went from a 56 sufficiency rating all the way down to a seven."

On November 23, TxDOT drastically dropped the maximum weight load of the City of Houston-controlled structure from 40,000 pounds and 21,000 pounds for tandem axle vehicles to 8,000 pounds per single axle and 10,000 per tandem axle. In response, the City of Houston banned all commercial trucks and installed signage prohibiting construction travel across the low-rated bridge.

Jackson and members of his group say that more needs to be done.

"One of our big arguments is that it's not enough to put up the signage," says Jackson. "The City has admitted that they don't have the resources to enforce it." Once the feeder roads to the new Walmart are opened, Jackson says that the Depression-era bridge will experience a "double whammy."

"Bottom line is that there are only ten other open permanent bridges in Texas with a sufficiency rating of seven or less. There's no other bridge in Texas with lower sufficiency and inventory ratings and higher average daily traffic than this bridge," says Jackson. "Our group has essentially come to the conclusion that the bridge is one of the worst if not the worst in Texas. It needs to be rehabilitated or completely replaced."

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Haney Kelly
Haney Kelly

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Vicman
Vicman

While not speciifcally on the bridge complaints Redscare on HAIF addressed the "they suppress Chinese workers" argument: "I invite comments from the Walmart haters. Surely, you can share your justification for idolizing one killer of Chinese laborers, while demonizing another. " -- And he also said "Wonder how many of those comments about Walmart using Chinese labor were posted from iPhones made with Chinese labor? My estimate is all of them."

Craigley
Craigley

Them Chinese are will participants.

KraeB6
KraeB6

You know the first rule of high school debating is to, like, stay on topic right? Focus, yo. It's about a bridge, not iPhones. A bridge. Bridge. Bridge. Bridge.

Vicman
Vicman

But it's really about Wal-Mart. The bridge is just an excuse.

Penny
Penny

I don't understand this comment.  Is Walmart proposing that the bridge be rehabilitated using Chinese laborers?  And then killing the laborers?  I'm against that. 

Vicman
Vicman

He means Chinese laborers used to make Wal-Mart products.

And the "bridge" is just an excuse used by anti-Wal-Mart people. The bridge is not the real topic at hand.

Penny
Penny

The topic is the bridge.  Trucks going to the Walmart site have been seen violating the load limits of the bridge, so that's topical too.  Chinese laborers used to make Walmart products are not topical, I don't know why you and your friend are bringing that up. 

It's one of the lowest rated bridges in the entire state of Texas.  What is COH going to do about it?  That's the topic.

FattyFatBastard
FattyFatBastard

Am I the only one here who realizes that the Heights bridge is right next to Yale, and the quicker route?  This all seems so useless and a waste of time.  The Walmart will be built.  Get over it.

Penny
Penny

Are you saying that the Yale Street Bridge is redundant and should be closed now?

LanceZ2Z
LanceZ2Z

I think this dude is saying he'd rather use a road that has an at-grade rail crossing so he can sit behind trains. A well thought out plan of action. 

Penny
Penny

Signs currently prohibit trucks from using the bridge.  Trucks still use the bridge.  The City did get Walmart to write a letter saying overlimit trucks servicing the Walmart would not use the bridge.  Trucks still use the bridge. 

Craigley
Craigley

For all you small town ninnies, don't forget the city can mandate trucks take a certain route to the store.  This is how big cities evolve.  Quit hanging on to the Heights Rats era.

mollusk
mollusk

Oh, Our Blessed Savior on a moped.....Let's assume for the sake of argument that Walmart is a wonderful place and break this down a bit.

Big, big store with lots of traffic (they hope).  On one side, tiny narrow streets with deep ditches that are a bit tight when two Ford Foci meet.  Ninety degrees, railroad tracks that might as well be the Great Wall of China. Another ninety degrees, a narrowish street with a very tight underpass under that GWoC.  90 more, a freeway separated by more than a block.  The box is finished by 70+ year old bridge (that would be when the Ford Model A was new), which is how you get there from the freeway.  Yeah, this is gonna work out just (indistinct f sound) grandly..... 

Vicman
Vicman

Everyone on the Houston Area Information Forum knows that the "Heights Walmart" critics are full of it. Houston Press, please stop giving those people press exposure.

Clint
Clint

These people actually recognized the Yale St. bridge's load capacity issues a year before TxDOT or the City of Houston, they re-routed school buses, recovered the as-built drawings which resulted in a massive drop in the bridge's rating - and all that work likely puts this bridge first in line for repair or rebuild. So this forum you promote, what exactly have they done for area infrastructure? I'm guessing nada.

Penny
Penny

Yeah, you HAIF guys think the Walmart 380 is so great because they are "repaving streets".  They are repaving streets because that's what you have to do after you tear them up to connect to water, sanitary sewer and storm sewer systems. 

Vicman
Vicman

"They are repaving streets because that's what you have to do after you tear them up to connect to water, sanitary sewer and storm sewer systems. "Penny, we are quite aware of that, thank you.HAIF "likes" Wal-Mart because Wal-Mart brings in taxation money, and because the critics are opposing it for bad, stupid reasons. Also legally the City of Houston can do absolutely nothing to prevent Wal-Mart from building at that location. There are pages and pages of discussion.

Do you want me to tell everyone on HAIF to come on over on these threads and show how ridiculous the critics are?

Penny
Penny

Vicman, nice comments here:

"Most of the time, HAIF serves as a healthy place of debate."

"Let me clarify, everyone who is respected. SM3H, etc. is kept on for humor reasons."

Sounds like you only respect those that agree with you.  I assume that HAIF is your site and you have the right to kick people off who disagree with you and don't amuse you?

Good to know that you have no response to the actual issues with the 380.

Jenni
Jenni

Oh man, I don't know whether to laugh at you or feel sorry for you. I'm going for laugh because you belong to superhero web gang with special fool-making powers! Maybe your lasers are firing backwards?

Vicman
Vicman

1. I just did, and I took your post as a "yes" so I posted the link. Those of us on Houston Press know they are "bad, stupid reasons". NOT what is being stated in the article - that's not the real reason why they are opposing this Wal-Mart. It's just an excuse.2. "gang of lonely internet posting guys " - It's a gang that knows how to make the anti-Wal-Mart folks look like fools.3. You say "People that get things done don't care about online opinions." - No, I'm not trying to get the city and/or politicians to change public policy - there's no point. The Wal-Mart IS going up. Rather, I'm trying to get Houston Press to stop giving attention to these people. The Press DOES listen to online comments.4. " It's just an echo chamber for your own opinions." - Most of the time, HAIF serves as a healthy place of debate.

Vicman
Vicman

Let me clarify, everyone who is respected. SM3H, etc. is kept on for humor reasons.

Vicman
Vicman

I did. And your response to me is a "yes." http://www.houstonarchitecture... 

That "gang of lonely internet posting guys " are awesome, smart people and know how to make silly "activists" look foolish.

"Are you of legal drinking age?" yes."People that get things done don't care about online opinions. " - In terms of city public policy, there's no need to worry. The Wal-Mart IS going up. Rather, the Houston Press needs to stop giving attention to this crowd. Remember THIS too is an online "forum""It's just an echo chamber for your own opinions." - Erm, on most subjects these posters disagree, but on Wal-Mart...

Penny
Penny

Vicman, not "everyone" on HAIF agrees with you.  Otherwise, there wouldn't be "pages and pages of discussion." 

Most of the "taxation money" is simply moved from one store to another - it's not new "taxation money".  The 380 reimburses ALL the ad valorem taxes, not just the new ad valorem taxes brought about by the development - however, the Request For Council Action incorrectly stated that it reimburses only increased ad valorem taxes.  "Taxation money" will actually DECREASE.   

The 380 will reimburse years and years of "taxation money" to pay for infrastructure that only benefits the Walmart development and uncapped interest at an unknown and uncapped rate. 

Ainbinder said that they would build the development without the 380.  The 380 is a ridiculous waste of "taxation money".

jwal
jwal

Did you just threaten to have your gang of lonely internet posting guys parachute into this thread because you've decided that people oppose a development for "bad, stupid reasons"? Are you of legal drinking age? People that get things done don't care about online opinions. They don't read them or change course because of them. If you and your buddies think otherwise, you're kidding yourselves. It's just an echo chamber for your own opinions.

H_e_x
H_e_x

Defending Wal-Mart is the new Kony 2012.

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Tunnel Mole
Tunnel Mole

Oh my gawd...could we hear any more whining about Wal-Mart in the precious Heights?  What about what EPA-bribing polluters have done to the Gulf Coast (including Houston's air, earth and water)?  What about what Wal-Mart has done to the rest of America?

Not to mention what folks would like to do to some Innocuous Vaginas (band name, anyone?).

Jayzus, get a frickin' grip. Go buy in a planned community somewhere and lock the gates.

houstonrocks
houstonrocks

make em design and build us a new one

Vicman
Vicman

In fact at one time Annise Parker offered the guys "We'll try to get them to design a better Wal-Mart for you" but they insisted "No Wal-Mart" "No Wal-Mart" - so they lost.

Penny
Penny

Parker would disagree with you.  She thinks that she has made the Walmart better.

Jimbo
Jimbo

Don't you love it when people who have no clue what they are talking about miraculously become PEs overnight through Google.

Penny
Penny

The bridge is severely load limited - it has a load limit of 8,000 lbs.  It currently handles more than 15,000 vehicles a day.  The feeder directly north and the new development directly south will greatly increase this traffic.  It doesn't take a PE to realize this bridge needs to be rehabilitated before all this extra traffic hits it. 

Jimbo
Jimbo

The bridge has a load limit per axle of a vehicle crossing it. This is calculated assuming the maximum number of maximum weight vehicles on the bridge at one time. The bridge does not have a number of cars per day limit. The weight axle per single axle on the bridge is 8,000lbs which equates to a 16,000lb two axle car. If you drive a solid gold Suburban find a different route. But you're right, it doesn't take a PE to understand the difference between per axle weight and total weight or between number of vehicles and weight of a single vehicle.

PEtx
PEtx

@Jimbo: Because overweight trucks are continually crossing the bridge, people have been calling in these reports, with photos, to CM Cohen's office. In response, they stationed a HPD truck enforcement unit out there and, in the span of a few partial days, cited 72 trucks. That you have yet to see HPD patrolling it, isn't exactly a good thing.

Jimbo
Jimbo

Glad to see you keeping the faith. I only cross the bridge twice a day on my way to and from work so I've yet to see either an 18 wheeler crossing or HPD patrolling it. I guess its just an odd coincidence that in 6 years I've yet to see what is right in front of my nose. All I can say is don't let that tinfoil hat get too tight and if I see you waiting there for miscreants I'll be sure to drop off a sandwich.

Jimboisanidiot
Jimboisanidiot

 Jimbo, can you please change your name to Dumbo. 

First let's start here:

Jimbo - "Hey, I wasn't the one claiming that an 18 wheeler is considered a single tandem axle group. Was that one of the "facts" you were referring to? "

What are you talking about?  An 18 wheeler cannot drive over the Yale St bridge without violating the load limit.  Unless the Yale St Bridge shrinks in length, an 18 wheeler and the majority of tandem axle trucks (even small ones) cannot drive over the bridge without violating the load limits.  You really appear to be confused, maybe you should take a break from the internet. 

Second, the city has not closed the bridge.  The city has posted signage saying "No Trucks"; however I have witnessed 18 wheelers driving over the bridge with HPD standing there and no action.  Simply placing signs that say "No Trucks" does not have the same impact as closing the bridge.  The decision to not allow trucks on the bridge is great, but it does no good if it is not enforced.  I have trouble understanding how approving feeder roads and a large construction project feet from this bridge without fixing it was a good idea.  Knowing that the bridge has some of the lowest ratings in the state, it is not logical to create an environment in which heavy construction equipment is consistently taken across the bridge.  I am not saying don't develop, I am saying don't sacrifice safety for development.

Regarding misleading, it is apparent that you have mislead yourself into believing that you actually know what your talking about.  So Jimbo, if you are driving 80 mph how long will it take you to travel 80 miles?

Jimbo
Jimbo

Hey, I wasn't the one claiming that an 18 wheeler is considered a single tandem axle group. Was that one of the "facts" you were referring to? If so it's a particularly truthy one. The City closed the bridge to truck traffic precisely because they cannot judge the weight of every truck that would try and cross. This is a good conservative decision in terms of reducing the risk of an overweight vehicle getting onto the bridge.

The misleading part of this whole story is the way that RUDH took the fact that that the tandem axle rating had been reduced and added the word vehicle so that it sounds to the layman as if any vehicle over 10,000lbs gross weight is over limit when in fact that is not the case. Interestingly, per TxDOT's bridge weight map they have the load rating at 10,000 for single or tandem axle but this could just be a typo between them and the CoH press release I guess.

Jimboisanidiot
Jimboisanidiot

Thanks for copying andpasting the definition for a tandem axle Jimbo.

The load limits are set byTxDOT and based on multiple factors. The length of the bridge along with thelength of a standard 18 wheeler is all considered when deriving these limits.Sure, an 18 wheeler could weigh a million tons if it was long enough for it'sweight to be distributed evenly, but we all know that is not reality. Yourcomment talks about possibilities and I am talking about actualities. We knowthe length of the bridge and the average length of an 18 wheeler and those lengthsare not changing, therefore you comments of "possibilities" are unnecessaryand do not apply.

Irony -

" : a pretense ofignorance and of willingness to learn from another assumed in order to make theother's false conceptions conspicuous byadroitquestioning —called also Socraticirony "

Merriam-Webster

Don't youlove it how Jimbo says "people who have no clue what they are talkingabout miraculously become PEs overnight through Google." and then in anattempt to justify his comments two posts later copies and pastes definitionsfrom the FMCSA, which he googled.

Jimbo, youcall them insults while the rest of us call them facts. Sometimes the truthhurts. Keep trollin Jimbo, keep trollin!

PEtx
PEtx

Jimbo, considering a loaded 18-wheeler can accommodate 80,000lbs, the point is mute. There is no weigh station located at either end of the Yale St. bridge to ensure that trucks are not overweight. Bottom line, the bridge is rated 7 out of 100. That's a fail in anybody's books. Now, open a feeder two hundred feet away, install a signalized intersection and back cars up onto a deck that's been compromised for decades. Let's see how that goes. In structural engineering there is a saying, "if it looks bad, it probably is bad." This looks really bad.

Penny
Penny

Average Daily Traffic (ADT) is one of the items used to determine the Sufficiency Rating of a bridge.  This bridge's Sufficiency Rating is 7 out of 100. 

An 18 wheeler weighs over 30,000 lbs empty.

Jimbo
Jimbo

"A tandem axle is defined as two or more consecutive axles whose centers are spaced more than 40 inches (100 cm) but not more than 96 inches (240 cm) apart. Axles spaced less than 40 inches (100 cm) apart are considered a single axle."Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

"The Yale Street Bridge rating was reduced from a previous maximum weight load of 40,000 lbs and 21,000 lbs for tandem axle to a new rating of 8,000 lbs per single axle and 10,000 lbs per tandem axle. This lower weight limit does not impact use of the bridge by passenger vehicles or small trucks."COH Press Release

An 18 wheeler is two tandem axle groups and a single axle group assuming normal axle spacing. Therefore gross limit could be 28,000lbs if the load is spread correctly. This is 70% of the previous gross weight limit.

Or you could just hurl insults.

Jimboisanidiot
Jimboisanidiot

Don't you love it when people like Jimbo, who are obviously illiterate, leave comments that make no sense.  I am not sure that Jimbo understands what PE stands for, but to provide some clarification on this topic tandem does not meant there are only two axles.  The article states that single axle is load limited at 8K lbs and tandem axle is loaded limited at 10K lbs. A vehicle with tandem axles means there are two axles located right next to each other.  An 18 wheeler, which has five total axles standard is a tandem axle vehicle. The problem here is that people like Jimbo, with his false understanding of load limits, think its okay to drive a 16K lbs, two axle vehicle over the Yale St Bridge.  Not only does the article contradict Jimbo's comment, so does reality. 

Scott Bodenheimer
Scott Bodenheimer

Really? Like anyone is surprised that not only the Yale Street Bridge but Yale Street itself isn't up to the task of funnelling thousands of cars and trucks to and from Walmart from I-10? How any Houstonian with even a high school education couldn't have seen this particular shit heading toward the fan is beyond me.  Particularly the mayor.

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