Dallas opens a new "signature" bridge
03-04-2012, 03:21 AM, (This post was last modified: 03-04-2012, 03:24 AM by Miguel.)
Dallas opens a new "signature" bridge
The city paid a pretty penny for this. It's on the edge of downtown so it's meant to become a symbol associated with the city. They were originally going to build three signature bridges before the economic downturn.

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^ Notice the old bridge in the background. It's still functional. It will become a pedestrian bridge (PDF). The new bridge comes off a freeway and is intended to spur development on the south side, where poorer neighborhoods are located.

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Taken tonight:
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Below, the Spanish designer and his wife. He made out like a bandit. Turns out the bridge is very similar to another he designed. And when the city decided they needed to reduce its costs by omitting some details, he received $6M just for the redesign.

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You may have noticed there is not much water under the bridge. It goes over the Trinity River. Decades ago they straightened and channelized the river. It flows between earthen levees and expands to fill the gaps when there are heavy rains.

The bridge is part of the Trinity River Corridor Project, An effort to turn the channel into a more natural state and create a large swath of park land near downtown at a cost of more than a billion dollars. Plans call for there to be two urban lakes under the bridge.

Oh, yeah, the real motivation behind this project may have been to build a toll road inside the levees. There was big vote (with low turnout) over this and the toll-road proponents barely won because much of the funding for this would come from federal transportation dollars. There is still opposition though and the roadway might not happen or, more likely, it will be turned into a grand boulevard instead of a freeway.

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When they started work on the bridge, they encountered problems with the soil that raised questions about the integrity of the levees. The Army Corps of Engineers had previously approved the project but post_Katrina backed away from their earlier statements.

The local weekly reported in November:

Quote:The city could develop the lakes and park it has promised voters and fix the levees at a reduced cost by using the dirt from digging out the lakes to fatten the levees, the source says. But engineers are at an impasse because toll road proponents want to use the dirt for the toll road, to lift it up above flood levels.

The only other part of the project that has been completed is an artificial whitewater rapids (standing wave) for kayakers. People scoffed at the notion of anyone getting in the Trinity River because it contains runoff from both Dallas and Fort Worth. But they built it and the kayakers did come. They really like it but it's a potential death trap because of a design flaw. They city intends to alter it.

Oh, yeah. There is also an Audubon Center. Because the Trinity River is not channelized downstream, it spreads out when it's in flood stage. Because of this, the area is not developed and remains heavily forested. Thus Dallas can lay claim to having the largest urban forest in North America.

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It has developed into a refuge for all sorts of wildlife. Few people know about it in Dallas and even fewer visit it since it's on the "bad" side of town.

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