Second Signature Bridge for Dallas Gets Green Light

A second "signature bridge" across the Trinity River in Dallas received another green light from the City Council on Wednesday.

The city will spend up to $114 million to go forward with arched hike and bike spans across the river. They will go up on either side of a new Interstate 30 roadway crossing to be built by the state.

"Sometimes you've got to do big things," Councilman Tennell Atkins said. "We are Big D, and Big D means we're going to do big things."

The Margaret McDermott Bridge will join the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge that extended the Woodall Rodgers Freeway across the river to West Dallas.

Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava designed both bridges.

The Margaret McDermott Bridge is drastically scaled down from Calatrava's original plan, which was deemed far too expensive.

"The fact that we're building something elegant and small is actually a step forward in our sophistication as a city," said Craig Holcomb, a leader of the Trinity Commons Foundation and former councilman.

Councilman Scott Griggs and Councilwoman Angela Hunt voted against the less expensive hike and bike crossings over concerns about design and construction cost overruns and future maintenance expense.

The city is still working on ways to reduce the cost of the Margaret McDermott hike and bike bridges, which are estimated to be about $12 million more than the city has to spend.

The rest of the City Council voted in favor of a plan to close the $12 million gap by accepting a $5 million contribution from the Trinity Trust, transferring several million from other city bond funds and seeking "value engineering" savings from Calatrava and the contractor.

"We are an international city, and this is another denotation of that international status," Councilwoman Vonciel Hill said.

Mayor Mike Rawlings said the new bridge is another part of the city's long-range plan to make the downtown Trinity River area into an attraction instead of an eyesore.

"The Trinity River can be a defining asset for the city of Dallas in the 21st century," he said.

New I-30 and Interstate 35E roadway bridges across the Trinity are part of The Horseshoe Project, a complete reconstruction of the Downtown Dallas Mixmaster, which is due to begin construction in May.

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