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Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Construction on three bridges hits snag

Construction of three bridges that will eventually span a Trinity River channel has hit a snag that officials are attributing to a design flaw.

The problem is expected to be quickly remedied and should result in a delay of only about a month, according to Val Lopez, spokesman for the Texas Department of Transportation in Fort Worth.

Lopez said the problem is a “malfunction of design,” which sometimes occurs when an engineering design is translated from paper to reality. The design underestimated the amount of steel necessary to support the bridges’ piers.

“Construction hasn’t stopped,” Lopez said. “We are working in other areas. This is not a big concern.”

Construction of the Henderson Street, White Settlement and North Main Street bridges began in 2014 and is still on track to be completed in 2017 and 2018 at a cost of about $74 million.

The bridges are being constructed over dry land and have been criticized by opponents of the Trinity River Vision project as “bridges to nowhere” because millions of dollars in anticipated federal dollars has yet to be appropriated for the transformative project north of downtown Fort Worth.

Supporters of the project defend the decision to build the bridges over dry land as a cost-saving move.

The bridges will connect downtown with Panther Island, an 800-acre urban waterfront community that will rise from a blighted industrial area north of downtown. Interwoven with Panther Island is the Central City piece that will redefine a portion of the Trinity River by combining recreational amenities with flood control to make the riverfront more attractive and usable for the public.

Fort Worth will gain about 12 miles of picturesque waterfront and a 33-acre lake as a result of the improvements.

The bridges were designed by architect Miguel Rosales and the Fort Worth engineering firm of Freese and Nichols Inc. The signature piece of the design is the V-shaped pier design. The brides will appear to float about 50 feel above ground, “lightly touching the ground every 220 feet,” according to a statement by Freese and Nichols.

Besides four traffic lanes, the bridges will all have dedicated bike lanes and 10-foot-wide sidewalks.

Fort Worth city officials announce this week that construction of the North Main Bridge will soon begin impacting traffic flow. Traffic will be rerouted from North Main Street to North Commerce Street between Northeast Seventh Street and Northeast 11th Street. One northbound and one southbound lane will be open.

The detour is expected to remain until the opening of the new North Main Street bridge in 2018.

All three bridges are being built simultaneously under the direction of TxDOT, the city of Fort Worth and the North Central Texas Council of Governments.

The Panther Island-Central City project is a cooperative venture of the Trinity River Vision Authority, Tarrant Regional Water District, city of Fort Worth, Tarrant County, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, TxDOT and Streams and Valleys Inc.

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