At the Lighting of the Calatrava Bridge, That "Elegant Sculpture" and "Connection in Time"

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Photos by Justin Terveen
In the end, the timing was perfect: The rain, scarce for far too long, had moved off but not before topping off the Trinity River just enough so that it resembled an actual river -- roaring, even, almost mighty. The clouds remained, and the glare from an ever-illuminated downtown gave the sky a subtle blue-gray glow through which shone the spotlights of TV-news helicopters awaiting The Big Moment. And it was chilly but not too cold, and so the people came out, lining the Continental Avenue Bridge with their cameras at the ready, waiting ... waiting.

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Mayor Rawlings
But before that, before Mayor Mike Rawlings threw the switch that slowly illuminated the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, there were speeches to be made. The mayor said, "We already know what a sight this bridge is during the day," but now it will become "an elegant sculpture" at night that links downtown to the new-and-improved West Dallas. Vonciel Jones Hill -- council member, judge, pastor -- spoke of a bridge as "a connection in time and space," then launched into a reading of Will Allen Dromgoole's "The Bridge Builder," a favorite at such occasions, this short poem about finding your way across the "chasm, vast, and deep, and wide." Lynn McBee, chair of the Trinity Trust's opening weekend party, spoke of fireworks forthcoming and a Lyle Lovett performance during the $200-a-ticket kick-off.

And then came the countdown, after which Mayor Rawlings threw the switch ... and then we waited, and waited a little longer, for the lights to warm up.

Mary Suhm, the city manager, found a place on the Continental bridge to take a few of her own photos before heading off to give a speech in Northwest Dallas later in the evening. Council members and West Dallas residents posed for their own photos; the bridge at night does make a great prop. And city officials spoke of having "faith" and being "optimistic" about the potential for development on both sides of the bridge, especially near the Continental Avenue pedestrian park and West Dallas Gateway, which will begin to take shape almost the moment the Calatrava opens the first weekend in March. Said one, "But if we don't do anything, there won't be anything. The risk will be worth the reward."

The bridge was fully illuminated by 6:15; it will be all white this time and just white, not blue or red or any other color. Santiago Calatrava, so the story goes, was deeply offended when city officials bathed the bridge in blue last February. Some 15 minutes after the ceremony, all the dignitaries were gone, leaving behind spectators and news trucks parked along Beckley and Continental, where traffic was slow and heavy. And for a very long time, people stood on one bridge and stared at the other.
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A brass band performed during the bridge-lighting, leading one spectator to observe: "Sounds like Christmas."

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94 comments
Sidewalkastronomer
Sidewalkastronomer

Ok, now the bridge is built, so when do the developers come to knock down the ghetto or will there be anti-gentrification protests instead. I think the developers are going to get a big surprise when the west Dallas residences see their future property tax bills.

VivlianWozz
VivlianWozz

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Chasewashington
Chasewashington

Wow. It amazes me how negative people can be. Waste of money or not, it is built now. Stop your b****ing and enjoy the fact the we have a gorgeous new landmark.

richard_schumacher
richard_schumacher

Do we owe Calatrava $80,000 for putting the wrong color lights on his bridge?

beautiful bridge
beautiful bridge

The bridge is a fantastic addition to Dallas. The negative comments are from people who think very short term

Dallas Prankster
Dallas Prankster

Looks like a misplaced incomplete Fair ride but then I hear its just the worlds largest plastic sewer pipe to filter the trinity flow.

Jared Heath
Jared Heath

How very exciting.  The bridge to "nowhere" (aka West Dallas) is about to finally open.

It does look great.  Its going to be very inviting to tourists to drive over.  And those tourists will be very inviting to the low-lifes who drive the crime rate up in West Dallas...

This is and has always been the problem with this bridge.  It will end up being a crime generator unless the police work extra in that area, which in turn will mean more crime elsewhere as the police spread even thinner to protect the tourists in and around downtown.  

Just think of the headlines on the next OU-Texas weekend after 15+ co-eds get mugged/car-jacked over in West Dallas after going over there on the bridge and finding out where it dumps them...its not going to be pretty.

Now in 15 years, it might be great.  Most of that area is going to get razed and re-developed running the evil-doers elsewhere, but until then, its just going to be trouble.

Dallas Prankster
Dallas Prankster

Looks like a misplaced incomplete Fair ride but then I hear its just the worlds largest plastic sewer pipe to filter the trinity flow.

Joe Garcia
Joe Garcia

JUST THOUGHT I'D PASS THIS ON, I SAW THIS VIDEO SOME TIME AGO AND REALIZED THIS IS THE FIRST VIDEO EVER DONE AT THE MARGARET HUNT HILL BRIDGE, EVEN BEFORE IT WAS OFFICIALLY OPENED. 

THE VIDEO'S GONE VIRAL ON YOUTUBE 

HERE'S THE LINK

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

Salud Sierra
Salud Sierra

Excited that the Calatrava Bridge is finally open. It will definitely change the Dallas skyline.

TruthIs
TruthIs

I saw this bridge from loop 12 last night along with a panorama view of downtown..looks good to me!

LakeWWWooder
LakeWWWooder

I live in East Dallas and I think it's beautiful.  I am proud of all of Dallas!

Rebecca Lynn Hunter
Rebecca Lynn Hunter

I haven't seen it yet I live in Plano (Collin County)  so I will have to go to Dallas to see it I'm not that far from Dallas. I love living in this area DFW has SO much to offer. 

ts
ts

Calatrava was just grumpy because they used the blue, which I tend to agree with.  Just keep the lighting simple on the bridge color-wise, and let Hunt Oil and the Omni be in charge of the Vegas lighting.  

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin

Now how about  a new bridge over the trinity for I30.  I hope its soon, I hate for the bridge that is is falling apart to just collapse one day while im driving on it

'"Of the two interstate bridges, he said, more problems have been cropping up on the I-30 spans over the Trinity River. Chunks of the bridge decking have fallen away, leaving holes in the pavement. Maintenance for both interstate bridges has cost millions in recent years."We make sure the interstate doesn't fall apart, so it's safe," Hale said. "But it becomes harder and harder to maintain."

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

Now all we need to do is get the jail complex painted in pastels, call it New Art Deco, and we're even more world class.

I've figured out what bothers me about the bridge--it's out of proportion to me. The components. It looks like something that a scrap metal artist welded together because it's what he had lying around. Everything about it is sleek and elegant except for the giant, clunky support arch that looks like it replaced the real one that was out of stock.

Unclemaude
Unclemaude

Wow. The Observer readers are a grumpy, cynical, negative lot! Bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch.

BU92
BU92

It looks like something I drew in the 3rd grade on graph paper.  The Sylvan Street Bridge has more character than this thing.  As for Calatrava being upset- it's not his bridge.  He needs to move on to bilk another city with his next boring project.

Storm_71
Storm_71

Angles flew briskly with light feathery wings as the Lord himself slowly descended and said “I herby proclaim the great city of Dallas to be WORLD CLASS”.  Then he went right down the road and picked up a twelve pack.

Crap Detector
Crap Detector

An illuminated croquet hoop....or a reminder of those 70s macrame crafts...does look better in white than blue...still can't help wondering if the "build it and they will come" thinking is a bit misguided here. We are trying to go where from where via this structure? Can't wait for the NTTA to decide to toll it.

Shaking head, rolling eyes
Shaking head, rolling eyes

A colossal waste of money. I know a lot of the funding was donated, but can't the money be used for something useful? What a F'ing waste.

Pooty
Pooty

jiminy cricket...this looks good. i was worried after seeing that electric blue crap from earlier. but this is nice, subtle and highlights the bridge.

i'm a fan of calatrava, architecture and bridges...but i still don't know if this was necessary.

MattL1
MattL1

Since I recently moved out of Dallas (for a few years anyway), I think the bridge looks just GREAT!  Makes me want to visit again and again.

Of course, if I still lived in the city, I'd be pissed that my car's "suspension" is all jacked up because the roads still suck.  But no more.  Big ticket items suddenly excite me again.

Steve
Steve

Finally! A way to get to the Laredo Muffler shop quickly!!

Tank
Tank

Plans are already in place for capital improvements, improved infrastructure and appropriate abatements for the existing predominately Hispanic residential areas of West Dallas. The remaining is abandoned warehouses and empty lots... all a ready and blank canvas for development. The approach is balanced and long term! Imagine a view from the tenth floor of your mid-rise residential tower of all of Downtown and the new bridge.   

Tank
Tank

It amazes me how little imagination, basic common sense and appreciation people have and all of which is combined lethally with what I can only describe as anti-intellectualism! The bridge will make west Dallas "somewhere"! All of West Dallas has been bought up by developers, those whose imagination will make them a lot of money. As to common sense... West Dallas (primed for development) is now only minutes from Downtown and Up-Town! As to appreciation... is there no joy for you in that we live in what is becoming a "destination" and not a point of departure. The dull and boorish among you can always live in Waco! And because something is beautiful. Inspiring, transcended and unique you all get all "double wide"! For God's sake I would rather have the occasional pot hole then live in a soulless city anytime! 

cockadoodledoooo
cockadoodledoooo

Their comment may be negative, but yours is definitely obtuse.

Crap Detector
Crap Detector

How many times are you going to say this, Prankster? We heard 'ya the first time.

Anon
Anon

you know that West Dallas is not the same thing as South Dallas, right?

matt
matt

you are an idiot.  please stay out of "scary" west dallas.  we dont want you here anyways.  we have so much crime to handle already!

cockadoodledoooo
cockadoodledoooo

Lame. You live in East Dallas and Ranger100 says that's lame...so there!

The Credible Hulk
The Credible Hulk

Well, to be fair, if it is out of proportion to *you*, you could always drop a few pounds.

Ed D.
Ed D.

Yes, it's exactly like the Cantina scene from Star Wars except with fewer Wookiees and more grousing about what makes Dallas liveable, interesting, and "world class".

Titus Groan
Titus Groan

Unfortunately, history tends to bear out the pessimists' view in Dallas.

MattL1
MattL1

You're JUST realizing this now?

G_David
G_David

Were those angles obtuse or acute?  It really affects the way I'm envisioning this. And I think Herby is a cool nickname for the Lord!

GRZA
GRZA

You think Dallas roads suck? Try going for a drive in Chicago!

Rangers100
Rangers100

Then ditch the car.  Walk, bike, ride the bus/train.

Fred
Fred

Probably not - most people 'up north' don't know there is a difference between South Dallas and Oak Cliff.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin

Ranger100 likes the bridge, I dont know if he meant the shelter or the span across the river

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

I'll give you one chance to make that make sense, Chuckles.

Storm_71
Storm_71

Sorry David. I am obviously not World Class. Lets make the angles acute just for shits and grins.

MattL1
MattL1

No, I don't think Dallas roads suck.  I KNOW they suck.  Two cities can both have shitty roads.

The Credible Hulk
The Credible Hulk

*whew*

I was hoping I wouldn't have to open the tap and drain all the funny out by trying to explain.

*grin*

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

Okay, call me slow, but it only just now registered in the labyrinth of my mind. And I applaud you for it, it was good subtle humor.

The Credible Hulk
The Credible Hulk

*snerk*

Oh come on! That was the best setup I've had in a month of Sundays around here!

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