In The News

Funding puts Trinity Uptown bridges on track

by Gordon Dickson | Oct 21, 2011

FORT WORTH -- The first of three new bridges connecting downtown Fort Worth to the planned Trinity Uptown project is on course to be under construction by next fall, after officials disclosed Thursday that they had found $15 million more in federal funds to pay for the project.

"It allows us to stay on budget. In the next few years, we can build these bridges before we build the lake," said U.S. Rep. Kay Granger, R-Fort Worth.

Granger, Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price and other dignitaries gathered Thursday at the Fort Worth Club to thank regional planners for setting aside $15 million in federal mobility funds for the new Henderson Street and North Main Street bridges. The money, approved last week by the Regional Transportation Council, will be combined with $23 million in federal funds previously arranged by Granger and $24.8 million in local funds, enough to ensure that the bridges can be built, they said.

Design and engineering for the Henderson Street bridge are expected to be completed by summer, and construction is scheduled to be under way by next fall. Construction of the North Main Street bridge would follow a year later, in fall 2013.

A third bridge for White Settlement Road is expected to be built in a future phase, perhaps five to six years later, and is not yet fully funded.

Bridges over a bypass

The bridges will not replace structures over the Trinity River. Rather, they will extend the city streets over a bypass channel that will cut through an area just north of downtown.

Transportation construction is part of the initial focus of the Trinity Uptown project, a $909 million effort to convert the near north side of Fort Worth into a walkable neighborhood with dense residential areas, shops, museums and night life.

The project would accomplish many goals that city officials have long touted -- flood control, economic development, ecological restoration, and increased recreation on the river and its banks.

Getting them built

Thursday's funding announcement is the latest example of how aggressively local leaders are working to start construction of the Trinity Uptown bridges.

This year, officials announced that they were making design changes -- including adding a modern roundabout instead of a traditional intersection at one end of the Henderson Street bridge -- to shave costs. The current cost projection of about $62.8 million for the first two bridges is about $2 million less than previous estimates. Those figures, however, don't include land acquisition, relocation, cleanup and other costs that could push the total to $110 million, officials have said.

The original plan was to use some of the state's voter-approved transportation bonds, but the Regional Transportation Council instead found $15 million available in federal surface transportation funds, Fort Worth Councilman Jungus Jordan said.

The city is responsible for construction of the bridges. Partner agencies include the Tarrant Regional Water District and Tarrant County. Officials with the Texas Department of Transportation and Army Corps of Engineers were also on hand Thursday.

Gordon Dickson


Gordon Dickson