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Designs unveiled for FW Trinity bridges


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#1 Dallastar

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Posted 26 January 2007 - 09:01 AM


They have some illustrations in the Dallas Morning news

Designs unveiled for FW Trinity bridges

07:47 AM CST on Friday, January 26, 2007
By JEFF MOSIER / The Dallas Morning News
jmosier@dallasnews.com

FORT WORTH – The meeting unfolded like a Dallas rerun.

An international architect unveiled designs for multimillion-dollar bridges as part of an effort to make the Trinity River an urban centerpiece. The plot sounds like Dallas' Trinity River Project and its planned Santiago Calatrava bridges, but this was Cowtown's cheaper but just as ambitious answer.

Bing Thom, an internationally known architect from Vancouver, British Columbia, unveiled his designs for three bridges Thursday to Fort Worth's Trinity River Vision Bridge Steering Committee. The $53 million construction cost for the trio is expected to be about 25 percent cheaper than the Calatrava-designed Woodall Rodgers bridge.

Even at a fraction of the price, it was an impressive set of designs, said Stephen L. Darrow, president of the American Institute of Architects' Fort Worth chapter.

"It's very organic," he said. "It's a very elegant answer to a specific problem."

Mr. Thom said the interwoven, ribbonlike arches under the bridge were inspired by nature. He toured the Texas countryside and admired the way the wind and water carved rock. The flowing curves can be seen in a picture he displayed of water-sculpted rock formations at Pedernales Falls, west of Austin.

The bridges stand in contrast to the massive span of the Woodall Rodgers bridge, which was originally bid at $113 million before the cost was slashed in rebidding to $69 million.

Ed Oakley, a Dallas City Council member, said that he's not too familiar with Fort Worth's plan but that he doesn't regret the expense of the Calatrava bridges. The city is planning two or three bridges created by a man Mr. Thom called the greatest bridge designer in the world.

"Now that we are here, I wouldn't consider going back," Mr. Oakley said. "We'll have two, maybe three great bridges."

Fort Worth officials said the Thom bridges at Henderson and North Main streets and White Settlement Road are still in the design phase, and the looks could change slightly. Construction is expected to start in 2009 and be completed by June 2010.

The Trinity River Vision would create a lake and bypass channel in downtown Fort Worth to prevent flooding. That would allow the removal of the 40-year-old levees, create a waterfront and open up 800 acres for new development.

City officials expect to have a densely developed waterfront lined with high-rise condominiums, cafes, shops, offices and public plazas. The new Trinity Uptown area could have as many as 10,000 new homes and boost the city's tax base by an estimated $1.3 billion.

The entire cost is expected to be about $435 million. The project will be funded with federal and local money.

The Dallas Trinity River Plan is expected to cost more than $1 billion, depending on which projects are included in the budget. That project includes the new bridges, water recreation facilities, ecosystem preservation, flood control, creation of several small lakes and a toll road.

Randle Harwood, Fort Worth's Trinity River Vision director, said it's difficult to compare the two cities' plans. He said that each addresses certain needs and also reflects the different characters of Fort Worth and Dallas.

"It doesn't mean that one is right and one is wrong," he said. "But I would say that ours is right."

He said the Woodall Rodgers bridge is much larger than any of the three Fort Worth bridges. Also, the Dallas bridge will be part of a highway, while the Fort Worth bridges are for surface streets.

Mr. Thom said he wants the bridges to stay as close to the water as possible. One purpose for the Trinity River Vision is to give the public great access to the water and make it an asset, he said.

Some of the arches under the bridges could act as footpaths for the public. Mr. Thom said that railing and lighting are still being considered for the three bridges.

Also, each will have a similar design but with slight differences. One might have more arches, and the North Main bridge will have a lower elevation than the other two. Mr. Thom described them as siblings from the same family.

The reaction was overwhelmingly positive, but not everyone was convinced. Cindy Wilson-Arrick with the Tarrant County Historical Commission said she was afraid that the modern design might clash with the classic feel of downtown Fort Worth and surrounding neighborhoods.

"It shouldn't stick out like a sore thumb," she said.
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#2 Fort Worthology

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Posted 26 January 2007 - 09:39 AM

The Startlegram has a bit more info, plus photos (not great ones, though):

IPB Image
Henderson

IPB Image
North Main

IPB Image
White Settlement

FORT WORTH -- With hopes of inviting pedestrians to stroll along the Trinity River, architect Bing Thom revealed his sleek preliminary designs for three new bridges that are expected to become signature structures in the Trinity Uptown project.

Thom's curvilinear bridge supports -- sweeping spans of concrete that not only hold the bridges over the river and proposed bypass channel but also serve as passageways to the trails and open spaces below -- were shown to a citizens advisory committee Thursday at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden.

With a projected construction cost of $53 million, the bridges at North Main and Henderson streets and White Settlement Road are expected to be completed by 2010 and will be the first pieces of the $435 million flood-control and economic-development project.

"These bridges are built to encourage people to come under the bridges, walk along the bridges and to walk along the river," Thom said. "It is purely for the pedestrian experience."

The bridges, which will be funded by Fort Worth, will connect Trinity Uptown to the rest of the city.

An 800-acre project that is expected to double the size of downtown, Trinity Uptown will create an island of retail and residential development and include the bypass channel, a town lake and canals.

Thom, who designed the downtown Tarrant County College campus under construction nearby, faced a tight budget from the Trinity River Vision Authority. In Dallas, three proposed Trinity River bridges have been marred by arguments over design and cost.

Thom stressed that these are preliminary designs and that officials are still meeting with contractors and the Army Corps of Engineers. About 90 percent of the work still must be done before construction can begin, he said.

"We are using our brains to spend every dollar as cost-effectively as we can and yet create the artistry that we want," Thom said.

"I always tell my staff, 'It's easy to spend money and much harder to save money.'"

Keeping a close eye on costs will continue, and if construction expenditures escalate, elements of the bridge designs may be eliminated to keep the project within budget, said J.D. Granger, executive director of the Trinity River Vision Authority.

Still, Granger said he was pleased with the designs.

"I never dreamed we'd be able to have bridges as beautiful as this within this budget. It is exactly what we wanted for our citizens," Granger said. "If we need to make design changes to stay within the budget, we'll do it but try to honor Thom's design."

Old is new again

The designer describes the bridges as "sisters and brothers, each with a different character."

The Henderson Street Bridge is the longest (367 feet) and widest (100 feet).

The bridge at North Main Street is 351 feet long, while the White Settlement Bridge is 317 feet. The North Main and White Settlement bridges are 72 feet wide and will have four lanes.

Part of the Texas Department of Transportation highway system, the Henderson bridge could be expanded to six lanes.

The North Main bridge was designed to connect the Stockyards and the rest of the city to downtown, with a slight rise to accommodate the bypass channel below and still keep a view of the historic Tarrant County Courthouse in the distance.

Henderson and White Settlement were positioned to not obstruct the view of the downtown skyline.

"White Settlement is a more lyrical bridge because you can see that it comes in from the Cultural District and loops through and goes into Trinity Uptown," Thom said.

"So each of these bridges has different contextual situations, and they respond to the area differently."

Some of the inspiration for the curving concrete supports came from the Paddock Viaduct that feeds onto North Main from downtown.

The steep, historic structure's archways are reflected in the designs of the three bridges, but in a more contemporary way, Thom said.

Another influence was the Texas landscape.

Thom imagined the Guadalupe Mountains, the curving river in Big Bend, the waterworn rocks of the Pedernales Falls.

An avid sailor, Thom also liked the idea of using a streamlined shape for the support beams.

"Wouldn't it be interesting to have these bridges grow out of the landscape, to have these water-carved-out areas that had the feeling that we've been here for ages rather than something brand-new?" he asked.

But creating the swooping supports in a traditional way, with workers handcrafting concrete forms, would have been costly.

Instead, Thom and his team came up with the idea of sculpting the dirt beneath the concrete to create the form for the supports, a method that is the reverse of how a backyard swimming pool is built.

Since the bridges are being built on dry ground, the dirt could be pulled away later for the road and railway beds and water channels.

Using all the archways also allowed Thom's team to shorten the spans, making the bridges lighter and less expensive, he said.

"The arches over the river also give very beautiful reflections," he said.

To help make the bridges pedestrian-friendly, some of the spans will reach up to roadway level, creating a path to the riverbed below. Visitors can look up from the banks at the interweaving bands of concrete on the underside of the bridge.

Thom says people could walk several loops between the Henderson and White Settlement bridges; two pedestrian bridges are now planned for the project.

"For joggers, for the Rollerbladers, for the walkers, for the mothers with small children, if you have an hour, you take a short loop, if you have a whole day, you can take six or eight loops. With each loop, you can see the river differently," Thom said.

Traffic concerns

Elegant, graceful and fluid were the way members of the advisory committee described the bridge designs Thursday.

But concerns were raised that a four-lane bridge at North Main Street would limit access to downtown by people driving in from the north, something that might keep major corporations from locating downtown.

"I love the concept, and I love the little bands" of concrete, said Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley, a committee member.

"But I'm concerned because I want to bring more business to downtown, and the complaints I've heard is that it is too difficult to get into downtown."

Fort Worth Councilman Sal Espino, an ardent supporter of Trinity Uptown who represents the north side, said north-south connections are limited and the city has to study the need for routes outside the Trinity Uptown area to keep traffic moving.

Studies by city traffic engineers indicate that four lanes are enough to handle the traffic flowing through the area, Thom and others said.

"I think the whole conception of Trinity Uptown is to try and downplay the automobile and increase the opportunity for pedestrians to be close to the city," Thom said.

Committee members said Thursday that they hope the unusual construction technique -- using dirt mounds as concrete forms -- would keep the project on budget and on time.

Several have been worried that the three bridges could not be built within the budget.

They are acutely aware of the problems Dallas encountered in building three bridges for its Trinity River project.

Just the first bridge in Dallas is expected to cost $69 million.

"This design should make the cost less than you might expect, which is part of the way to keep the bridges in budget," said Randle Harwood, the city's Trinity River Vision director. "We've told everyone, these bridges must be on budget."

HENDERSON STREET BRIDGE

Location: 800 to 900 block of Henderson Street

Length: 367 feet

Width: 100 feet

Number of arches: Five

Lanes: Four, expandable to six

NORTH MAIN STREET BRIDGE

Location: 800 to 900 block of North Main Street

Length: 351 feet

Width: 72 feet

Number of arches: Three

Lanes: Four

WHITE SETTLEMENT ROAD BRIDGE

Location: 2000 to 2400 block

Length: 317 feet

Width: 72 feet

Number of arches: Four

Lanes: Four

SOURCE: Bing Thom

BY THE NUMBERS

$66.9 million: The total budget for the three bridges, including design, land acquisition and environmental cleanup

$53 million: The amount set aside specifically for construction

$44 million: The portion of the cost set aside for basic bridge elements

$8 million: The cost for enhancements such as customized rails and brick accents

#3 CliffordProffitt

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Posted 26 January 2007 - 09:48 AM

Just wanted to add the photo's.
IPB Image
Architect Bing Thom's design for a bridge over Henderson Street.
IPB Image
Architect Bing Thom's design for a bridge over North Main Street.
IPB Image
Architect Bing Thom's design for a bridge over White Settlement Road.

All the photos are from the The Dallas Morning News Co.
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#4 Bernd

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Posted 26 January 2007 - 09:59 AM

When I first saw the models of the bridges, I can admit I was skeptical. Too avant-garde, I thought. I'd have been happy with three classic bridges that look like the Paddock Viaduct.

But, after seeing the presentation and realizing that the area will be landscaped, and not so stark-concrete looking like the models, I think I'm coming around.

Plus, when Thom says things like the following, I just want to run up and hug the guy:
QUOTE(Bing Thom @ Jan 26 2007, 10:39 AM) View Post

"I think the whole conception of Trinity Uptown is to try and downplay the automobile and increase the opportunity for pedestrians to be close to the city."


He was also talking about how they had to leave room to add a lane to one of the bridges per TXDOT regulations, but he described it as "The lane I hope never comes." And he explained how important it was to set the standard of architectural quality high, so that then when the private sector started building in the area, they would be compelled to match the high standards.
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#5 Fort Worthology

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Posted 26 January 2007 - 10:04 AM

I too was glad to see that Thom understands the fallacy of "add more lanes to support more traffic!!!!11" that most planners unfortunately get trapped by. I hope every one of those bridges stays at four lanes for a long time.

He is really keen on pedestrian appeal, and I am very pleased about the above quote, same as Bernd is.

#6 mosteijn

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Posted 26 January 2007 - 10:57 AM

I LOVE THESE BRIDGES!!! Thank god Trinity Uptown opted for designs that didn't look like Calatrava knock-offs, like they show on the model. Bing Thom is such a great, and fortunately under-appreciated architect, who really understands the TU project and Fort Worth in general. I specifically like these bridges for NOT going after a traditional, Paddock knock-off design (if that had happened, I would have lost a LOT of respect for the project.) Plus, they remind me of a bus stop I designed this summer at UT, so I understand a lot of where Thom is coming from. Very impressive!

(Btw, there is a Trinity River Vision thread, and I think this should be merged with it...)

#7 Keller Pirate

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Posted 26 January 2007 - 11:04 AM

The questions I had about this project weren't answered by the S-T story. They way I read the story these bridges are not replacements, like 7th Street, but are new bridges over locations that will exist when the river is rerouted. The 2010 estimated completion is not that far off.

Will the Trinity have been rerouted by that time? I know Kay Granger got her bill for the project through congress but, last I heard it had not had the funding appropriated. The Corps of Engineers does not seem like a fast moving entity.

Will the new channel have to be dug before the bridges are built?

What will happen to the existing roads while the bridges are being built? The map in the S-T shows straight lines for the roads and bridges so one would think the old roadway will have to move or be closed while the bridges are built.

Will all three bridges be under constrution at the same time? This would seem to cause a lot of disruption to traffic, if so.

How will these new bridges blend with the current old bridges at Henderson and Main St?

What if the bridges are built and the Trinity River Vision doesn't have its funding appropriated? Will Ft Worth go ahead without federal money and build it anyway?

I wish them well, in Keller we built a little bitty bridge over Bear Creek and it took a year and a half of constrution to complete it. Of course if they had planned a litttle better maybe the construction phase would have gone quicker. wacko.gif

#8 JBB

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Posted 26 January 2007 - 11:09 AM

I believe the new Henderson bridge replaces the existing bridge.



#9 RD Milhollin

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Posted 26 January 2007 - 11:11 AM

I also appreciate the mention of pedestrian priority, but also share the legit concerns leaders expressed about N - S linkages between Northside and Cat Island. I wonder if these bridges are to be, like the proposed 7th St. Bridge, capable of supporting light rail transit? BTW I like the design.

#10 Bernd

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Posted 26 January 2007 - 11:12 AM

QUOTE(Keller Pirate @ Jan 26 2007, 12:04 PM) View Post

Will the Trinity have been rerouted by that time? I know Kay Granger got her bill for the project through congress but, last I heard it had not had the funding appropriated. The Corps of Engineers does not seem like a fast moving entity.

Will the new channel have to be dug before the bridges are built?


No, the bridges will be built before the bypass channel is created. They're doing this so they can use the earth to form the arches, rather than building expensive formwork. The arches will be poured over molded earth, then more earth will be molded on top of the arches and the roadway will be poured. Then they'll excavate the dirt and dig the channel underneath the already existing bridges.


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#11 cbellomy

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Posted 26 January 2007 - 11:29 AM

It wouldn't surprise me if the current Congress kills this whole deal, like they did the Supercollider. I don't think it's likely, but it wouldn't surprise me, either. Texas has very little influence in Congress now.


#12 CliffordProffitt

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Posted 26 January 2007 - 11:54 AM

QUOTE(JBB @ Jan 26 2007, 11:09 AM) View Post

I believe the new Henderson bridge replaces the existing bridge.

No, the current Henderson Street bridge over the Trinity River will stay. The new Henderson Street bridge will be built north of that location and be over the new Trinity River bypass channel.
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#13 Fort Worthology

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Posted 26 January 2007 - 12:00 PM

QUOTE(Bernd @ Jan 26 2007, 11:12 AM) View Post

No, the bridges will be built before the bypass channel is created. They're doing this so they can use the earth to form the arches, rather than building expensive formwork. The arches will be poured over molded earth, then more earth will be molded on top of the arches and the roadway will be poured. Then they'll excavate the dirt and dig the channel underneath the already existing bridges.


That's such a cool, innovative way of saving money. What a great idea!

#14 jefffwd

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Posted 26 January 2007 - 02:59 PM

QUOTE(Jonnyrules23 @ Jan 26 2007, 12:57 PM) View Post

I LOVE THESE BRIDGES!!! Thank god Trinity Uptown opted for designs that didn't look like Calatrava knock-offs, like they show on the model. Bing Thom is such a great, and fortunately under-appreciated architect, who really understands the TU project and Fort Worth in general. I specifically like these bridges for NOT going after a traditional, Paddock knock-off design (if that had happened, I would have lost a LOT of respect for the project.) Plus, they remind me of a bus stop I designed this summer at UT, so I understand a lot of where Thom is coming from. Very impressive!

(Btw, there is a Trinity River Vision thread, and I think this should be merged with it...)


Jonny,

Once you go to Cinci are you going to forget us here in Cowtown?

#15 Sam Stone

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Posted 26 January 2007 - 04:34 PM

I think they're so-so. Certainly interesting. Personally I like bridges that have above grade features as well, they make better landmarks.

#16 DrkLts

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Posted 26 January 2007 - 04:46 PM

I think they are nice. Maybe not landmark worthy, but not too over dramatic either.

#17 redhead

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Posted 26 January 2007 - 05:28 PM

They used the "earth mold" techinique on a couple of the bridges on Hwy 360...It was quite interesting to watch them create them void that caused the structure to become a bridge.

#18 AndyN

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Posted 26 January 2007 - 06:09 PM

Really, which ones? The only thing around here I could think of that looked like an earth mold bridge were some of the old I-30 bridges on the west end of downtown near Mrs. Baird's, but they are all gone (and Mrs. Bairds is too).
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#19 redhead

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Posted 26 January 2007 - 09:52 PM

I had an office in the area at the time...I'd have to go drive by and try to remember..it was quite a while back. I just remember watching the excavation from an "at grade" crossing to create a bridge...was really interesting!

#20 RD Milhollin

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Posted 26 January 2007 - 11:01 PM

The Avenue J bridge was built that way, I'm not sure about Ave. K/Brown Blvd., have to go by and look.

#21 safly

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Posted 27 January 2007 - 11:45 AM

QUOTE
Ed Oakley, a Dallas City Council member, said that he's not too familiar with Fort Worth's plan but that he doesn't regret the expense of the Calatrava bridges. The city is planning two or three bridges created by a man Mr. Thom called the greatest bridge designer in the world.

"Now that we are here, I wouldn't consider going back," Mr. Oakley said. "We'll have two, maybe three great bridges."



Shucks! Just when I thought these beautiful bridge designs were going to catapult us above the BIG "D" bridge scene, Mr. Oakley has to burst our bubble. rotflmao.gif

Is there such a disorder as BRIDGE ENVY??? dry.gif



I too love the designs, as one stated earlier as saying "very organic". And I think that pretty much sums it all up. It appeals and settles in well with the existing landscape surrounding DTFW.

They could double as a RAD skating park too. Reminds me of those concrete tubes in the old school playgrounds where you'd ditch class and light one up in. Or so I've heard. unsure.gif
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#22 SLO

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Posted 27 January 2007 - 12:13 PM

.....very underwhelming, I agree with Sam Stone above ground features would make a big difference.
Wide pedestrian and bike lanes should be included along with good lighting and the four lanes.

#23 Fort Worthology

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Posted 27 January 2007 - 01:13 PM

Well, we have no idea what the railing, lighting, etc. will look like, because that hasn't been decided yet.

As for pedestrians, I have a feeling that Bing Thom won't let us down on that front. He understands the importance.

#24 Bernd

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Posted 27 January 2007 - 01:56 PM

Pedestrian lanes will be included in both directions (10 feet wide, I think)
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#25 hooked

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Posted 27 January 2007 - 08:23 PM

I hope they include a safety rail or something between the cars and the people. Walking on the 7th Street bridge is pretty scary, with nothing between me and the cars going 50+ mph.

#26 djold1

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Posted 30 January 2007 - 04:43 PM

As the bridge plan was presented, I wonder why there was no mention of space for light rail extensions.

Also, while it may be cool to think that widening North Main is not necessary or even efficient, it has already been noted in several places in this forum that if the TRV and adjacent developments are even partially successful that there will be the worst kind of gridlock on North Main. Where are the alternative routes?

Even if you take the heavy trucking off North Main that now goes through all the way past the Stockyards, it will still be a mess..

Is there any real thinking about this going on at all?

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#27 ramjet

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Posted 24 July 2012 - 04:02 PM

According to the Fort Worth Business Press, looks like some real movement on these bridges...

Trinity River Bridges Speed Up

#28 cberen1

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 12:41 PM

I might need a refresher. What does this really mean for Fort Worth. Obviously we're not talking about Calatrava, but is this acceleration important for aesthetic reasons, or for development reasons?

#29 ramjet

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 03:24 PM

According to the TRV website, the bridges are not replacements for the existing ones, but extensions (???). I don't quite get it, but apparently they will be necessary when the waterways are reworked. (Or perhaps they were sped up to show some dirt moving before we all die of old age :o ).

#30 johnfwd

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Posted 26 July 2012 - 06:09 AM

My guess is the city is anticipating the need for infrastructure to support the economic development and increased population on the city’s north side as a result of the TRV project. I have no quarrel with far-sighted planning, if that's what this is.

#31 Doohickie

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Posted 26 July 2012 - 07:40 AM

According to the TRV website, the bridges are not replacements for the existing ones, but extensions (???). I don't quite get it, but apparently they will be necessary when the waterways are reworked. (Or perhaps they were sped up to show some dirt moving before we all die of old age :o ).

The key extension is taking White Settlement Road from Jacksboro Hwy./Henderson St. to Main. The rest of the bridges are basically for carrying existing routes over the new flood control channel.

One of the benefits promised is "Property Improvement." When you roll over that box, it cites Trinity Bluffs and Cowtown Wakeboard Park (the park is off Northside Drive at the eastern crossing of the Trinity near the tip of the Samuels peninsula). As far as road access goes, I can't see how TRV will help either one of them. It looks like the TRV will provide a small bridge over the river between the Main Street peninsula and the Samuels Avenue peninsula (a small street near LaGrave Field).

I think if you want to benefit the Samuels peninsula, a larger highway bridge would need to connect the Trinity Uptown area with the Trinity Bluffs area. For instance, extend Cold Springs Road to Main Street.
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#32 BlueMound

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Posted 06 June 2016 - 05:12 PM

London calls on designers to illuminate the Thames's many bridges
http://www.citylab.c...etition/485828/




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