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Plans Shrink For Second Dallas Designer Bridge

By BJ Austin, KERA News

Dallas, TX – Dallas is a step closer to a "second" Santiago Calatrava designer bridge. But it will be much different than first planned. KERA's BJ Austin reports.

Funding problems are scaling-back plans for the second bridge by the famed Spanish architect - the I-30 Margaret McDermott Bridge. Gone are the four, giant steel arches in the original 300 million dollar design. The Dallas City Council has approved a new, 10 million dollar contract with Calatrava to create a "pedestrian and bike" component for the "replacement" I-30 bridge that TxDOT will design and build.

Council member Angela Hunt was the only NO vote.

Hunt: We have the prize. We already have the Calatrava Bridge. Let's be frugal in this economy.

Council member Ann Margolin pointed out that private funds and 2006 bond money that the Regional Transportation Council is to re-pay will fund the new design contract.

Margolin: It is not coming from the city of Dallas coffers. In addition, the 92 million that has been allocated by the federal government, the purpose of that money was to enhance the bridge that the state builds.

Hunt says maybe that money should help build the "plain vanilla" bridge in these tight economic times. But Council member Delia Jasso says a more elaborate - second Calatrava bridge - is what's good for Dallas.

Jasso: It will remind people that Dallas does not end at downtown. For many years, we've had a bad perception of the other side of the river. And so these bridges, in my opinion, will stop that perception.

TxDOT wants to start construction on the replacement I-30 bridge next summer, if its funding is in place. The Calatrava bike and pedestrian design is due in January - now that the new contract has been approved.

Email BJ Austin