PARKS & RECREATION

Suspension Bridge Rehabilitation Project

News

Virtual Groundbreaking

The City of Waco held a Virtual Groundbreaking on October 22, 2020 to commemorate the start of the project and the 150th anniversary of the bridge.

Watch a replay of the ceremony by clicking here.

Ceremony participants included Waco Parks and Recreation Director Jonathan Cook, Waco City Manager Bradley Ford, Waco Mayor Kyle Deaver, Mayor Pro Tem and District One Council Representative Andrea Barefield, District Four Council Representative Darius Ewing and District Two Council Representative Hector Sabido.

Scope of Project

Pardon our dust! Full closure of the Suspension Bridge and work area is anticipated throughout the duration of the bridge rehabilitation project to ensure public safety. Significant areas of Indian Spring Park and Martin Luther King, Jr. Park will be closed throughout the duration of the project. Portions of the Waco Riverwalk on both sides of the bridge will also be impacted, as well as traffic lanes along University Parks Dr. and Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. River access below the bridge will remain open.

Project timeline

  • Groundbreaking in October 2020
  • Construction duration of 18-24 months
  • Anticipated completion in 2022

Project Updates

Completed:

  • Temporary, full-length suspended work platform installed to provide workers access to the underside of the bridge span.
  • Essential temporary support structures, including cross-bracing, pedestals and jacking system installed on the six mid-river piers.
  • Bridge span lifted to de-tension and remove the cables. Cable removal complete.
  • Eight steer from the "Branding of the Brazos" sculptures moved and safely stored and will be moved back into place upon project completion. The signature rider sculptures remain in place and accessible to the public.

In Progress:

  • Crews removing paint and dirt from the bridge in preparation of repainting.

Up Next:

  • Excavation to install deeper footings under the anchor houses.
  • Wooden decking to be replaced by a combination of patterned concrete and durable ipe hardwood.

Project Timelapse Videos

A Legendary Icon of Downtown Waco

Since its initial construction in 1870, Waco’s historic Suspension Bridge has been widely recognized as an engineering marvel of its time and a significant landmark. But notably, this bridge also represents one of the first community-driven civic improvement projects Wacoans became known for.  

In the 1860s, the local residents of what was then a frontier community, put up the initial funding. They had a vision that Waco could grow itself into a thriving economic hub centered on this vital crossing, and they succeeded. 

Today, our citizens share a similar vision: that Waco’s strength and vitality continue to be driven by the connectivity and unity of its communities. Over the course of the past 150 years, this landmark and its surroundings have become the cultural center of Waco’s public gatherings and recreation, hosting large tourism events and intimate gatherings equally well. It is an exceptional legacy that the initial vision and investment of our founders has lived on to become a broader symbol of how we represent our identity and culture.

Maintaining a Legacy

Each generation of Wacoans have done their part to reinvest in and preserve this iconic structure. Most notably, in 1914 the bridge was rebuilt for improved structural capacity and to take on its signature art deco stylings. The cabling and anchors dating to that era have reached the point where replacement is needed, setting the stage for a $12.4 million dollar rehabilitation effort to include the foundations, towers, decking and railings.

Our general contractor, Gibson & Associates, put together an exceptional team of professionals to methodically complete this work over the next 18-24 months. While it is a sacrifice to go without the public enjoyment of this space for the time being, we are honored to be the stewards of a renovation that will secure its place in this community for the next hundred years.

Advocacy, Partners & Support

This project would not be possible without:

  • The funding support of the Tax Increment Financing board
  • Project Engineer - Patrick Sparks of Patrick Sparks Engineering
  • Agency Partners at the Texas Historical Commission
  • McLennan County Historical Commission
  • The City of Waco Historic Landmark Preservation Commission