Reporting Joel Thomas
TARRANT COUNTY (CBSDFW.COM) - Fort Worth celebrated both the opening of a new bridge Thursday and its unique design conception.
The original plans for the new bridge connecting Hulen Street and Bryant Irvin Road included a very spartan design for the sidewalk: bringing trails below the bridge up to sidewalks onto street level. But a private group, Streams and Valleys, stepped in with a new idea. They wanted to split the roads and drop the sidewalk down. That would allow it to connect trails on both banks of the Trinity River.
“Instead of having a bureaucratic ‘no’, they said ‘we’ll take a look at that’,” said Isaac Manning, Vice President of Streams and Valleys.
“The issue with this is it’s a tremendous example of what Fort Worth does at its very best,” said Mayor Betsy Price. “That collaborative effort is what brings us beautiful bridges like this.”
The city’s designers collaborated with Streams and Valleys on making the bridge more pedestrian-friendly.
Now, the 410 foot long bridge is divided and the pedestrian trail has a bridge all its own suspended underneath. There is art work at both ends. Observation areas allow pedestrians a chance to stop, rest and take in the view.
“It’s fantastic!” exclaimed Steve England as he looked at the river below. “This is beautiful!”
Perhaps most importantly, the new design offers pedestrians and bicyclists a convenient way to cross the river without the dangers of being near a busy street.
“I’ve walked the trail on this side and ridden on this one and for years and years its been difficult,” said Mayor Price. “You have to go all the way down there or back up here to get across. If you’re just out walking with your grand kids, this is a great addition.”
“It’s great,” said Brett Vonsolsten who walks the trail. “You know I’ve been up on that bridge a few times and it’s a real hassle.”
The private cooperation doesn’t stop on the the bridge. Project organizers say private companies are helping build infrastructure leading to the bridge too, and homes and businesses are already under development in the area between Hulen Street and Bryant Irvin Road.
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