By Jack Fink

DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) –  For years, about 460,000 have crossed the I-30 and I-35E bridges over the Trinity River in downtown Dallas just about every day — and for years, drivers have often sat in traffic.

Most of the bridges date back to the 1950’s, while one of them was built in the 1930’s.  They weren’t designed to handle all of the vehicles on them now.

Monte Roberts knows about the traffic all too well.  “Sat there one day for 20 minutes to get from here to the other side of the bridge, it is totally ridiculous.  Relief is on its way.

Drivers can now see cranes and crews as part of the nearly $800 million Horseshoe Project.

When completed, the Margaret McDermott I-30 bridge, with its Calatrava Steel arches, will consist of two spans, one westbound, the other east.

Four spans — including two north, two south — will make-up the I-35 bridge.

Crews will start building the new spans first.

Ana Bak with Pegasus Link Constructors says, “Once that construction is finished, we’re going to move the existing traffic onto those roads and then start working on the inside, and the existing bridges.”

Any related closures will take place at night or on weekends.

The bridges will also be built up to 12 feet higher to allow the levees to be raised.

This is what the Trinity looked like after heavy rains in 2009.

Aside from wider bridges to accommodate more lanes of traffic and more vehicles, planners say it will be easier for drivers to get around the downtown highway interchanges known as the mixmaster.

Bak says, “One of the problems with the mixmaster is you’re trying to get from 35 to 30, but you have to merge lanes so quickly, and so with this project, we’re going to let people know way in advance, we’re going to have message boards to let them know exactly what lanes they need to be in if they want to get in on 30 or 35.”

The bridges are scheduled to be completed in 2017.

Planners say because it’s considered a design and build project, it’s taking half as long as it normally would.

To help drivers keep up to date about the project, planners have developed various social media outlets:

*   Text alerts: sign up by texting “dallashorseshoe” to 31996
*   Facebook:
*   Twitter:
*   Website:
*   Mobile app: “Dallas Horseshoe” with up-to-date closure and project event info available for download at the Apple iTunes and Android Google Play stores.

Follow Jack on Twitter:  @cbs11jack

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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