AUSTIN (KXAN) — A city spokesperson said Thursday that the emergency maintenance closure of the Austin Municipal Court was to test for asbestos. That same spokesperson confirmed as of around 4:30 pm Thursday that the tests all came back negative for asbestos.
City of Austin spokesperson David Green said, “The city has no reason to believe that asbestos containing material was disturbed.” However, construction workers did disturb particles of dust when they “moved ceiling tiles, which were not asbestos containing material but they were located in areas where there may have been asbestos. Dust fell out of the ceiling. So, out of an abundance of caution, we are testing.”
He emphasized the city has no reason to believe there was an asbestos exposure, adding that a contractor is currently conducting air quality testing for asbestos.
Green did not provide an exact location in the building where the dust fell.
Dozens of people visited the building Thursday, dismayed they wouldn’t be able to handle the matters they came there for. “I took my day off of work to come over here, so it’s a bummer,” said Jeremy Camarillo who was dealing with tickets he’d received.
The downtown location at 700 E. 7th St. is expected to reopen for normal business hours Friday, however, the court does have new operating hours as of Dec. 1. The new hours will be 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday; and 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday.
The city said the change was made so the court can better accommodate the needs of the people seeking court services, and so the court can better allocate staff during peak times of use.
During this building closure, the ability to pay fines by phone will be unavailable, the city said. However, fines can still be paid online. You can find information about a ticket or case and ways to pay fines at the Municipal Court’s website here.