Noelle Walker

Dallas City Council Committee Recommends Plan to Fix Margaret McDermott Bridge Hike and Bike Paths

The solution would cost over $7 million and take three years to complete

The Margaret McDermott Bridge cost more than $100 million to build, but its touted hike and bike paths have never been open, due to safety concerns with the system of cables, rods and anchors that support those parts of the bridge.

"They build a bridge, now they got to go back over and redo it," cyclist Earl Jackson said as he rode on the nearby Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge. "That's ridiculous! They ought to did that at the first. That ought to have been the first thing they did, check that out."

"When did we first recognize that there was a problem," asked city councilman Casey Thomas II, during a briefing to the Mobility Solutions, Infrastructure and Sustainability Committee Monday afternoon.

The problems were known in 2016 when three rods that hold the cables cracked. The hike and bike paths on both sides of the bridge are barricaded from use, though on one side, those barricades have been tossed over the side of the bridge. 

"Anytime I think you create these iconic type bridges, kind of custom-made, first-time, that's really never been replicated before, I think you run into challenges like this," committee vice chair Rickey Callahan said.

The solution would cost just over $7 million and would involve replacing all the cables, rods and anchors. The fix would take three years to complete.

"So part of me feel like this is throwing good money after bad," committee member, councilwoman Sandy Greyson said. "If we did not approve this, what would happen? We would just keep those elements closed, right?"

"I would presume at that point TxDOT would come to the city asking us to pay back the money to the federal government," explained Sarah Standifer, assistant director of Dallas Water Utilities.

"Nobody wants to put good money after bad," Callahan said. "But I think this is the best way of doing it."

The full city council is expected to vote on the proposal Wednesday.

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