Using a small drilling machine, non-destructive core samples were taken from the bridge deck and the bridge support structures. Ground penetrating radar technology also is being used to determine the condition of piers, foundations, and abutments to the bridges.
The core samples and radar results will be analyzed in a lab to determine the properties of the concrete and reinforced structures of the bridge.
Results of the testing will be reviewed by engineers with Aguirre and Fields and engineers for the City. Aguirre and Fields is working for the City to assess the bridges and develop options for repair or replacement.
Next year the City will hold meetings for public input on the design of the new Austin Avenue Bridges.
Design work on the bridges will likely begin later in 2016 or in 2017. Construction work on new bridges could take 12 to 24 months.
A weight limit was placed on the bridges last year following a structural assessment by the Texas Department of Transportation. The maximum gross weight for each bridge is 48,000 pounds or 24 tons. The weight limit for a tandem axle on a vehicle is 21,000 pounds or 10.5 tons.