The city of Waco will begin the design phase of Suspension Bridge Rehabilitation Project starting Monday, Feb. 5, the city announced Thursday.

Built in 1869, Waco's most notable public landmark continues to bring former residents like Allen Hunt back--75 years after his departure.

"There's fond memories of Waco.," said Hunt. So were just back visiting enjoying the town and I just love this bridge. Were strolling on this bridge enjoying it.

So that Hunt and generations in the future can continue to enjoy it, the suspension bridge will undergo a $5.8 million makeover to address structural needs like new decking, new cables, and reinforcement of the towers and anchors. Waco resident Carrabie Vice says the changes are necessary.

"Especially with the ground Part. I know that I've run across it a couple of times and tripped on some loose boards," said Vice. I would love to see a little more of a flat surface for people to walk across. I would love for them to keep the same character it has right, now but it definitely can use some improvement."

Waco new comers like Kenny Quintal said he'll benefit from the upgrades. He said he visits the bridge frequently to learn about the city's past.

"We cross the bridge here to get a good view of the Brazos. Sometimes my friends come and they want to know what these bulls are for and we all learn Waco history," said Quintal.

The project will require several short-term access closures to the bridge for crews to perform the collection of drill cores to bedrock in three locations (midspan; between UParks anchor houses, and between MLK anchor houses.

Drilling activity will be performed in following three phases to minimize public interruption below:

  • Phase 1 – drilling from the middle of the bridge starting Monday, February 5th that will require that the bridge be completely barricaded (no public access permitted on the bridge structure for at least 48 hours but not to exceed four days). The plan is to open the bridge for public use by noon Friday, February 9th.
  • Phase 2 – drilling between the anchor houses on the University Parks side of the bridge will start Monday, February 12th and should take approximately 24 hours. Only the work area between anchor houses will be barricaded and the bridge will be open. The bridge should be fully open by Friday, February 16th by noon.
  • Phase 3 – drilling between the anchor houses on the MLK side of the bridge will start Monday, February 19th and should only take approximately 24 hours. Only the work area between anchor houses will be barricaded and the bridge will be open. The bridge should be fully open by Friday, February 23rd by noon.

Officials said the bridge closures will not be permitted Friday through Sundays when people want to enjoy the bridge.

The work plan may be revised if weather or field conditions complicate Phase 1 drilling, and updates will be provided. However, the schedule will not be revised in a way that conflicts with any public events permitted through the Parks events Team.