City Proposes Redesign of Second Calatrava Bridge to Green-Light Construction in Mid-2012 and Add Pedestrian and Bicycle Components

McDermott_bridge_tinymodel2_Merten.jpg
Photo by Sam Merten
We're not sure what the new plan is for the new IH-30 bridge, but if this model's any indication, perhaps they've axed one of the approaches?
Following Thursday afternoon's presser celebrating the anticipated approval of a plan to restore the Trinity River levee system's 100-year flood protection, we asked City Manager Mary Suhm about the progress of the Margaret McDermott Bridge -- the second Santiago Calatrava-designed bridge that will replace the current IH-30 bridge.

After all, construction was
once expected to begin this year, and council member Ron Natinsky at a March 23 mayoral debate said the funding gap had nearly been filled by private donations. Texas Department of Transportation's Bill Hale, the district engineer for the Dallas District, also told us one month ago the stage agency was proceeding without the city's involvement in a signature bridge because "they haven't ID'd the dollars to cover that, so we're designing it as a normal structure."

Suhm said she expected bids for construction to begin in mid-2012 but wouldn't elaborate on exactly how the funding would fall into place, claiming no city funds would be used to pay for the bridge.

"I'm working on it, OK?" she said when asked where the dough's coming from. "I don't have an answer."

So we were surprised Friday evening to see Tuesday's upcoming Trinity River Corridor Project Committee briefing, which outlines a plan to break ground in mid-2012. The revised budget for the project isn't revealed in the presentation, but it says $92 million has been secured by area members of Congress "for the signature component" of the bridge, which has "reached the end of its useful life." City officials have indicated they believe the signature element of the bridge will attract economic development.

In an email to Unfair Park, Suhm stresses she told us the city was working on a solution. "It's a way from being all put together, but [I] wanted to tell council what direction we were headed."

The new plan aims to reduce the bridge's cost (although exactly how isn't clear), expedite its construction and add pedestrian and bicycle components. If the project partners agree to the redo, the city council is set to vote April 13 on a $5 million grant from the Trinity Trust Foundation, along with a revised $8 million contract with Calatrava.


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Daniel Webster
Daniel Webster

I think to appreciate these bridges,one must see for themselves the Calatrava tables purchased for UT Southwestern.They weren't cheap,but Wildenthal gets to point to them in cocktail parties.Kern,you can not buy class, no matter how hard you try.

Doug
Doug

I'm confused by this statement in the article "...the bridge, which has 'reached the end of its useful life.'" I recollect an article back when this whole business got started that said, according to TxDOT, that none of the bridges the signature bridges were supposed to replace were scheduled to be replaced any time in the foreseeable future. They are perfectly servicable (although they need to be maintained) for many more years. The "need" to replace them was supposedly one of the lies put forth by the supporters of the new eye-candy bridges to justify spending the money on them What changed?

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

(although they need to be maintained)

Differed Maintenance...That was never done ?

Sam_Merten
Sam_Merten

Per Suhm: No city money is expected to be spent on this project.

Brenda Marks
Brenda Marks

Sam -- on p. 9 of the PowerPoint, ".. (interim finance with City funds) -- $3.5M.

Do you know where the $3.5M is coming from?

Tom L (No, Not That L)
Tom L (No, Not That L)

Sure, "nudge nudge wink wink".

But the money is coming from somewhere and I assume that somewhere is earmarks. And whoever is arguing for those earmarks is having to do some horse trading -- nothing comes for free. And I have to wonder what useful things they could be trying fund via their precious earmarks instead. Like, for example, fixing potholes or funding schools ...

Home sweet South Dallas
Home sweet South Dallas

Wait, is this the bridge by the jail? If so, I think it's the weirdest place to put a bridge. Why not just update one of the many other bridges that cross the Trinity near downtown? Some of them look like they were once beautiful structures that could easily make a "comeback" with some money thrown at them.

abuckley1970
abuckley1970

good grief. I guess sex isn't the only thing that "sells." Who knew bridges were the key to economic development? I demand a refund from the university for all of my business education.

Borborygmus
Borborygmus

"Sex isn't the only thing that 'sells'". I still say bridge #1 looks like the world's largest vibrator. Subliminal.

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

Every time I see the photo of that crappy architectural model, it reminds me of everything that is wrong with Dallas. They spent $500 thousand dollars on that thing and the folks who didn't weren't even professional modelers.

A far superior product (with bridges that actually look like bridges, correct elevations, stuff to scale, etc.) could have easily been had for under $100,000.

Carter Class of '72
Carter Class of '72

That had to be intentional so that people could fill in the blanks with their imagination, or lacking one, hucksters could fill it in for them with all sorts of stuff that would never pan out in reality.

If they made it photo realistic there's no way they could hide what it really is: a crappy looking overpriced bridge over a treeless park located in a flood plain between two massive, featureless dirt levees that will be uninhabitable during our hot, humid Texas summers.

Stacy
Stacy

a park uninhabitable in Dallas during the summer?????..What rock are you living under...You need to get out more especially to places like Katy Trail....White Rock Lake...and Turtle Creek Trail....they are bustling with people during those hot.humid.. uninhabitable summers..many at noon.

Carter Class of '72
Carter Class of '72

Under an air conditioned one. I've lived in and around Dallas since the early 1950s, growing up in South Oak Cliff, and the places you cite have two things that the Trinity River will not have: elevation and/or large numbers of mature shade trees. The Trinity River looks like it will be a large, flat open expanse sited between what will amount to two massive windbreaks depending on which way the wind is blowing.

MattL1
MattL1

Yeah, that model is REALLY horrible. I can't decide whether to chuckle or sob whenever I see a picture of it.

Smublackbush
Smublackbush

why do the "signature components" of this bridge cost more than the entire Hunt Hill Bridge? note very signatury for that amount of money. will there be permanent auxiliary lighting for at night like during the superbowl when it's completed? (of course, it need not be changing colors)

Ben
Ben

Really sucks that Calatrava Bridge Numero Uno does not have a sidewalk/bike path. I wonder why they left it out. On the same note about the "levee protection" theme, Dallas spent over a quarter million on the "levee trail" making it a bike path using what I think is brick dust and crushed concrete. Totally ruined by the guys who now drive bulldozers up and down it from the Baker Pump Station.

John_McKee
John_McKee

"City officials have indicated they believe the signature element of the bridge will attract economic development"

Psst! Hey, buddy, wanna buy a bridge?

cynical old bastard
cynical old bastard

"but it says $92 million has been secured by area members of Congress "for the signature component" of the bridge"

If it walks like an earmark and quacks like an earmark then it must be an earmark! But all of Congress is against earmarks and projects like this! Is there anyway to identify the hypocrites in Congress that have secured this money?

Noah Jeppson
Noah Jeppson

It's good that they are thinking to add bicycle and pedestrian components to this bridge!

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

Yep Nothing says HEALTHY like inhaling Car Exhaust Diesel fumes to enhance a workout .....

jamal
jamal

you're right. no one should run or cycle outside.

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

Commuting Next to 5 lanes of Rush hour traffic No.

But Those amenities might not even make the final cut as officials try to trim the Bridge they want into the bridge with a price tag they can afford .

Carter Class of '72
Carter Class of '72

92 MM in Federal money for the "signature component." I'm sure taxpayers in other states appreciate Dallas using their money to make our bridge "special." How about using those funds to replace some of that crumbling infrastructure around the country that we've been reading about? How many bridges could 92 million dollars fix or replace?

Mike B
Mike B

How is a bridge going to attract economic development?

Stacy Phillips1980
Stacy Phillips1980

The View......Condos on the south part of the levees will make a killing selling the bridge /park/downtown view....location...location...location..

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

I'd like to know the answer to that question, as well. Surely, Queen Suhm isn't recommending we spend well over $100 million based on a hunch.

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