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Bridging The Money Gap: 2nd Calatrava Span For Cyclists, Runners Gets Cash Infusion

Dallas City Hall

The designer bike and pedestrian lanes across the Trinity River got a shot in the arm today – money to cover cost overruns.

Dallas City Council members said they will close a $12 million shortfall with bond money and more than $5 million in private donations.

Acclaimed Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava designed the second bridge, which will feature separate hike and bike lanes on each side of a rebuilt I-30 span, to match his iconic Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge.

There's some good money news, too: The I-30 span, being built by TxDOT and dubbed the Margaret McDermott Bridge, is coming in $20 million below cost estimates.

Council member Tennell Atkins argued for the extra funds to create another landmark on the Dallas skyline.

“Sometimes you gotta do big things," he said. "We are in Big D, and Big D means you’re gonna do big things.”

Councilman Scott Griggs voted no. He says the city doesn’t have a handle on construction or maintenance costs.
“These two bridges are now over $600,000 a year in maintenance, which is over 1 percent of our entire street budget,”  he pointed out.

Any additional cost overruns will fall to the taxpayers.  City officials promise that won't happen. They expect to cut about $4 million off costs through small adjustments to construction called value engineering. 

Construction is set to begin in May; cyclists and runners should be able to roll across the river by 2017.

Former KERA reporter BJ Austin spent more than 25 years in broadcast journalism, anchoring and reporting in Atlanta, New York, New Orleans and Dallas. Along the way, she covered Atlanta City Hall, the Georgia Legislature and the corruption trials of Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards.