Benbrook Bridge Opposition Mixed Despite Promise Of Emergency-Only Use 

BENBROOK (CBSDFW.COM) – New details may soften some of the opposition to Benbrook’s plan to build a bridge most people will never get to use.

In a work session Monday city leaders saw new designs for a bridge with only one lane over the Clear Fork of the Trinity River. If built, only emergency traffic is allowed to use it.

The assurance of restrictions had some people who have worked hard to oppose the bridge, changing their minds about the plan.

“Yes, yes,” said Teresa Rutledge, who lives about a block from where the new bridge would route emergency responders. “To me the with the plan and proposal and what they’re going to guarantee that bridge, it would never, period, be ever used to expand for traffic.”

Public opposition to the plan, in neighborhoods north of I-20, and east of the river, is clear, with prominent signs printed up with “No bridge, no way,” dotting the front yards of most streets.

Emergency services from the city have no direct route into the area now, except by navigating traffic along Vickery Boulevard or Bryant Irvin Rd. Response times, according to City Manager Andy Wayman, continue to average close to 8 minutes, as opposed to a 5 minute average elsewhere. There are two to three fire calls to the area every day, he said.

According to designs provided to council members, the bridge would connect Bellaire Drive South, with the I-820 loop. The one traffic lane would be 15-foot wide, enough for a fire truck but not two lanes of traffic. A gate would restrict access.
Residents have been concerned that would open up a new east-west thoroughfare, leading vehicles through their neighborhood. Some remained skeptical that the city would be able to keep the bridge restricted.

“Just don’t trust ’em,” said Joan Basham. “And I don’t think anybody around here does.”

The entrance to the bridge would be directly across Bellaire Drive from her home.

Other residents who spoke to CBS11 Tuesday said they are still skeptical because of past city meetings where the idea of building the bridge wide enough to accommodate traffic in the future was discussed. Wayman said the city has not looked at any cost estimates for the bridge, other than the single lane design.

The city is planning informational meetings with homeowners and working on local agreements with neighboring Fort Worth to limit access to emergency responders, before moving ahead in the design and building process.

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