29 February 2024

Project InFocus: Pedestrian Bridges Foundation Design & Inspection for the HLSR

It’s the most wonderful time of the year in Houston, where cowboy boots and carnival rides signal the arrival of one of the most iconic events in the Greater Houston region—the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo (HLSR). For Houstonians, the HLSR is marked by rodeo competitions, live music, foot-long corndogs and the nation’s largest livestock show. 

EHRA Engineering and the HLSR have had a great history of working together on multiple projects and improvements that benefit this iconic annual event. From the parking lot improvements located South of IH 610 and post-event Traffic Control Planning to local pedestrian bridge enhancements, EHRA's contributions have played a vital role in the overall annual HLSR event of the season. 

In the past year, the EHRA structures team had the opportunity to, once again, assist the HLSR, this time focusing on the improvement of the foundation for two existing pedestrian bridges crucial to the event's accessibility. These bridges see a substantial amount of pedestrian traffic during events, providing direct access from a METRO rail station located on Fannin Street to the HLSR grounds without disrupting major vehicular traffic and operations. 

The bridges’ existing foundations were composed of aging asphalt that, with time, deteriorated from the continued load and use of the structures. Carlos Flores, PE conducted a foundation design that required the bridges to be temporarily relocated. This design called for the replacement of the entire footprint of both bridges with reinforced concrete. Existing utilities, pedestrian live loads, wind loads, self-weight loads and subgrade composition were taken into consideration for the development of the new foundation. 

The construction of the foundations took place in the HLSR off-season, ensuring minimal disruption. The EHRA structures team conducted thorough inspections to certify the new foundations’ integrity before the pedestrian bridges were returned on site to their designated locations. 

Another vital component of this project involved inspecting the two 52-foot clear-span bridges and completing this task prior to the HLSR kick-off event, which occurred just this past week. Our team was able to conduct and complete the inspection in time, and they presented the results to the City of Houston for final approval. 

As we reflect on our partnership with the HLSR, EHRA looks forward to many more years of collaboration. Together, we continue to build a legacy that enhances the magic of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. So, put on your boots, join us in celebrating this annual Houston tradition and keep an eye out for some of EHRA’s projects brought to life!

Rodeo Parking Lot