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Makeover For The Margaret McDermott "Designer" Bridge

Original Calatrava design for Margaret McDermott Bridge
Texas Department of Transportation
Original Calatrava design for Margaret McDermott Bridge

By BJ Austin, KERA News

Dallas, TX – Dallas City Hall is cutting the budget for the second "signature" bridge over the Trinity River; spending "other people's" money; and putting the project on the fast track. KERA's BJ Austin reports.

The Trinity River Corridor Committee is recommending the full council approve the new design approach next week.

It calls for noted Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava to tweak the design for the I-30 Margaret McDermott Bridge to fit within a smaller budget, as well as add pedestrian and bicycle components.

The price tag on the original Calatrava design for the I-30 bridge was 200 million dollars. The city has secured 92 million in federal funds for the "signature" elements on the basic bridge that the Texas Department of Transportation will fund and build.

City Manager Mary Suhm says Calatrava is up to the downsizing challenge.

Suhm: He is very aware that he has two creations next to each other. They need to compliment each other, reflect each other very well. This is his work sitting in one place, very uniquely - two vehicular bridges together that's no place else in the country. So, I think understands the importance of not giving a lesser appearance.

The first Calatrava bridge, the Margaret Hunt Hill, will open this fall.

Council member Ann Margolin calls the new approach a big win for the city.

Margolin: I think it's very exciting that we can move forward on this with federal funds, state funds, county and private - not involving the city - because this is obviously a very significant project.

The new 8 million dollar re-design contract with Santiago Calatrava will be funded with a five million dollar donation from the Trinity Trust Foundation and 3.5 million from the North Central Texas Council of Governments. Dallas County helped fund the original design work. TxDOT says the I-30 bridge is at the end of its life expectancy, and engineers want to start construction on a new bridge by the middle of next year.

Email BJ Austin