Fort Worth

Crews Now Working Weekends on 3 Bridges Near Downtown Fort Worth

TxDOT pays contractor extra for 'unforeseen challenges'

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Construction on three problem-plagued bridges that have snarled traffic for years north of downtown Fort Worth may speed up with extra crews now working on weekends.

The move came after the Texas Department of Transportation, which is managing the project, paid additional money to its contractor.

The bridges are part of the Panther Island flood control project.

The Houston-based contractor, Sterling Construction, has complained about mismanagement and constant design changes.

Company attorney Frank Hill said Tuesday the state paid Sterling $15 million last month to resolve ongoing issues and in return Sterling agreed to bring in extra crews and work seven days a week.

TxDOT spokesman Val Lopez said he wouldn’t disclose the amount of the additional payment without a formal open records request.

"The project experienced delays,” he said. “A payment was made to the contractor for unforeseen challenges."

It's unclear when the bridges will be completed.

"We are continuing to work with project partners on the updated timetable and ultimately, completion of the bridges," Lopez said.

Even when the bridges are finished, they will be over dry land.

The next step -- rerouting the Trinity River under them -- is up in the air.

Congress allocated funds for that part of the project years ago but the U.S. Corps of Engineers, which is overseeing it, has been slow to pay up.

The Fort Worth city council plans to get an update on the bridges from TxDOT officials on Jan. 28.

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