Thousands Visit Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge Opening Celebration

photo 19 Thousands Visit Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge Opening Celebration

Thousands flocked to the opening celebration on March 3, 2012 of West Dallas’s new link with downtown, the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge. (Credit: Andrea Lucia/KTVT)

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Thousands flocked to the opening celebration Saturday of West Dallas’s new link with downtown, the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge.

Festivities began early with a 5k and 10k levee run, which had participants jogging across the bridge itself on their way to the Design District. Organizers say Saturday’s event is one of only a few times residents will be allowed to walk on the bridge.

There are no sidewalks, so the nearby Continental Street Viaduct will be turned into a dedicated pedestrian zone, City Manager Mary Suhm said.

The bridge’s designer, famed Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, was on hand at Southern Methodist University before the event, saying the bridge is “landmarking the new center of Dallas for the 21st century.”

“I believe, like many other people believe, the Trinity River has a huge importance for the character of the city,” he said. “I’m completely convinced that in 100 years the city on both sides will have a different character.”

Construction on the bridge began in 2007. It will link Woodall Rogers Freeway in downtown to Singleton Boulevard in West Dallas. City leaders hope the bridge will help spur redevelopment in West Dallas and North Oak Cliff.

“Many other bridges will come and we’ll have a gigantic center of Dallas on the Trinity River,” Calatrava said.

The bridge’s capacity Saturday at any one time is 6,750. City spokesman Frank Librio said early estimates expect that 20,000 visited the bridge throughout the day, which lasted from noon until 9 p.m.

At 5 p.m., event staff says there were about 2,900 people there. Two hours later, Librio said the city had to begin to limit admission because attendance reached capacity.

photo 20 Thousands Visit Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge Opening Celebration

From left, former Dallas Mayors Tom Leppert, Laura Miller, Ron Kirk –– now the U.S. Trade Representative –– and current Mayor Mike Rawlings speak at the opening celebration of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge on March 3, 2012. (Credit: Phyllis Smith/KRLD)

“It’s rather impressive, it’s big,” said Carlos Alvarez, a resident who visited the bridge during the event. “I didn’t realize how big it was driving past it every day. Very nice, very beautiful.”

The bridge is about a third of a mile long. Event organizers were careful to tell visitors that the suspension bridge will sway slightly in the wind: There’s no danger in that.

Evening festivities include a concert by Jonathan Tyler and the Northern Lights and a fireworks show.

This is the first of three planned Calatrava bridges: Construction is slated to begin on the Margaret McDermott Bridge next year. That one will link Interstates 30 and 35.

More from Andrea Lucia

One Comment

  1. M. Trantham says:

    Ugly bridge. Bet the people in St.Louis are laughing their tails off. We had to support our arch with guidewires.

  2. Brad H says:

    Dallas is looking like some kind of circus.

  3. Grahawk says:

    “The Bridge To Nowhere”

  4. sah says:

    Why don’t they clean up the city before they build a fancy bridge? This bridge goes into a terrible part of Dallas. Why didn’t they just name it the bridge to murder and robbery?

    1. Grahawk says:

      sah, ya think? They would have to clean up a 5 mile area along Singleton that includes some “projects”…and…a former lead smelter.

  5. C English says:

    Why was this thing needed?

    1. Grahawk says:

      Because city leaders envision development…at Dallas taxpayers expense…

  6. george averyt says:

    Dallas gets an overpriced bridge….Arlington got Cowboy Stadium! Nice trade! At least the Cowboy fans in Dallas have another route with that new bridge to come see the Cowboy games in Arlington. Thanks Laura!

  7. bill moore says:

    they could have had a football play pen that jerry wanted to build in dallas but no laura miller said nonono

  8. Cherron Rodriguez says:

    I can’t figure out for the life of me why this bridge was needed. If it was built with “donations” I can think of other places people can donate their money than for THIS THING. Granted it was their money to donate. But I don’t think very highly of these people, whomever they may be.

  9. KeepOurFreedoms says:

    What a waste of money. Not only that there are no pedistrian walkways like on our other bridges. They just don’t care about citizens. The bridge looks weird as well.

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