WACO, Texas – Since January of 1870, the Waco Suspension Bridge, the first bridge across the Brazos River, has been a mainstay of the city.
“When you think of Waco, one of the first things you’re going to think of is the Alico and the Suspension Bridge,” says Waco native Fernando Gonzales.
Every 25 to 30 years, the bridge undergoes a repair – fixing cracks, repainting, or touching up its decks. Regardless of the task, the repairs make one of Waco’s most popular spots inaccessible.
Gonzales has been visiting the bridge all his life, and didn’t take the news well.
“I don’t like it at all. I bring my daughter here all the time on the weekends and everything, and this is like the go-to have fun, get out, and do things,” Gonzales says.
While the repairs typically take the bridge out of commission briefly, this go around will be a lot longer.
“The structural engineer, his report included findings that said it’s time for the cables to be rebuilt, so that’s a pretty big ask for our undertaking this time around,” says City of Waco Senior Park Planner Tom Balk.
So bridge goers this fall should take full advantage of their opportunity to enjoy the activities because by winter time, it will be closed for up to two years.
“In the coming weeks, we’re about to begin the bid process, which will set us up to begin the construction project on the ground in November. The site will probably be closed off to the public starting in December,” Balk says.
The senior park planner emphasized this isn’t a remodeling effort or anything. It’s just necessary maintenance. So when the process is over, Waco residents and guests can get back to the city’s beloved symbol.
“It’s going to have the character, the look, and feel people love about this icon of Waco. And it’s just going to be looking its freshest and its best and last another 100 years. So we’re excited to do that,” Balk says.