Phelan bridge over bayou needs immediate repair

Phelan bridge over bayou needs immediate repair

The westbound bridge over Hillebrandt Bayou on Phelan Boulevard between Belvedere and Kennedy drives appears to be in pretty bad shape and unstable due to cracks in the concrete and exposed reinforcements in the main structural components.

There are cracks in two caps on the abutments supporting the I-beams and a third cap appears to be completely broken off, fully exposing the steel reinforcements.

One local engineer who asked not to be named said that the bridge needs immediate attention.

“The pictures … indicate there are existing structural issues and problems of this bridge located at Phelan Boulevard,” he said. “The large concrete cracks and exposed steel reinforcements in the abutments, caps, and bents must be inspected and analyzed further. I will need to do thorough inspection at the site to be able to tell you whether it is unsafe, but definitely the structure is weaker with these cracks and exposed reinforcements.”

The load-zoned bridge has a weight limit of 24,000 pounds tandem axle. In heavy trucks, tandem refers to two closely spaced axles, legally defined by a distance between the axles of up to 96 inches in the U.S.

Also troubling is the fact that there is no turnaround before the bridge heading westbound or eastbound, leaving no chance for trucks to avoid crossing the bridge if they do exceed the weight limit.

As of Wednesday evening, Oct. 1, the city had not yet commented on the condition of the bridge.