DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Dinner and music are on the agenda at this hour at a downtown Dallas landmark as festivities get underway for the celebratory opening of the Margaret Hunt Hill bridge, the first of three “signature” bridges proposed by Spanish architect Santiago Calitrava.
“I’m very excited about it,” says Nicholas Troilo, who is betting on the future. The artist and designer has spent two years creating a studio called The Workroom, literally at the foot of the bridge in West Dallas. ”I wanted to do a little design business out of and what a better area to do it in? And an area that hasn’t really been tapped into,” he says, adding, “I also thought it would be a destination here.”
The bridge is an economic and symbolic link to downtown. As workers rushed to prepare for tonight’s private dinner and concert, city manager Mary Suhm tells us work on a second signature bridge is underway. “We’re about 50% of the way through the design on the McDermott Bridge.”
The Margaret McDermott Bridge is actually a horseshoe affair linking Interstates 30 and 35. Public and private money has been raised, and architect Santiago Calatrava will take a slightly different approach. “Still 13 lanes,” says Suhm. “It’s an enormous bridge; what’s being done differently is there’ll be pedestiran and bicycle access on the bridge. That is not on any other interstate bridges around the country.”
Construction is set to begin a year from now and will escape the federal budget-cutting knives, according to retiring senior U.S. Senator from Texas Kay Bailey Hutchison. “The federal funds were allocated, so our share was done.”
Meantime, the public is urged to enjoy the new bridge. There will be music, fireworks, and fesivities all weekend, including walking tours. There are no sidewalks, so once the bridge opens the nearby Continental Street Viaduct will be converted into a pedestrian and bicycling Nirvana.
“You can have parties, you can have picnics, you can see and enjoy the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge,” says Craig Holcomb of the Trinity Commons Foundation. Suhm agrees. “It’ll be bicycle, park and pedestrian facilities, and you can be on that Contientnal Bridge and have events or just go there to the park. And experience (the) Margaret Hunt Hill (Bridge) and the skyline and the whole Trinity River Project. It was made possible by an anonymous donor and we’re very, very thankful for that.”