By Kierra Pixler, Managing Editor
The Central Ave. Bridge built in 1918 is listed on the National Register of Historic Places is in need of more than a facelift. The Belton City Council entered into contract with TxDOT to potentially replace or restore Central Avenue Bridge.
Rebar is showing, failed joint seals and deck sagging are only a few of the issues that the historic structure is struggling with. Although the city took action in 2017 and added fencing on both sides of the bridge, the structure is in need of much more.
The historical bridge will require an environmental assessment to decide if it is able to be repaired or would have to be replaced.
The estimate to replace the historic structure would be more than $1.2 million dollars to repair it. The repairs would include making the bridge structurally sound and making the bridge a two lane thoroughfare. The evaluation of the structure would consider how the repairing or replace of the bridge would affect Pearl and Davis street, how it would impact the FEMA floodplain and the city water line, electrical lines and existing trees. The assessment would also consider other options including rehabbing the bridge for traffic and constructing a one-way bypass, making a pedestrian only bridge and building a two-way bypass, leave it as a monument and build a two-way bypass. The bridge would be eligible for repairs or replacement in Fiscal Year 2021.
In lieu of a 10 percent match, as required by TxDOT, the city of Belton would be able to do the Mesquite/IH 35 Drainage Project to meet state refunding requirements. The next steps in either repairing or replacing the bridge would be for the project to go before the council again to answer any further questions. Now that an agreement is in place, an assessment of the bridge project can move forward.