Spanning the Trinity River and Dallas Floodway in Dallas Texas, the ‘Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge’ by Valencian architect and engineer Santiago Calatrava has officially opened to the public with a ceremonious ribbon-cutting ceremony and fireworks. Rain fall had pushed construction back along the access ramps and delayed the opening from March 5 until recently.
The bridge, Calatrava’s first vehicular bridge in the United States, is supported by a cable-stayed structure spanning its 1,870-foot length with a 400 foot tall steel arch with an array of twisting cables. Attached to the underside of the curved pylon, 58 delicate white strands descend and secure themselves along the centerline of the platform. The 16-foot diameter support is comprised of 25 individual segments, secured with 20,000 pounds of bolts and additional 450 tons of concrete.
Visible from all cardinal directions and connecting West Dallas with the Downtown District of the city, the new landmark will provide six lanes for vehicular traffic and an iconic postcard perspective to define the Metropolitan area.
Santiago Calatrava said, “The Bridge is built not only with steel, concrete, and pure materials, it is also built with other materials. It is built with courage, it is built with faith, and it is built also with love. It is built with the courage of those who have promoted this project. It is built with the faith of those who believe in the future of this city, and it is built with the love of those who genuinely love the city of Dallas and the people of Dallas – and I am one of them.”
The first master plan had been implemented in the late 1990s. Halff & Associates had been involved in this plan and suggested Santiago Calatrava because they had seen his work and his bridges in Spain. In the late 1990s (1999) Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk had asked Margaret McDermott if she could make a donation to hire Calatrava to design a bridge, and she agreed. Construction began on June 14, 2007 and was completed in March 2012.
The construction contract for the signature span and approaches inside the levees was awarded for $69.7 million, the contract for the approach spans outside the levee was awarded for $50 million.
The six lane, cable-stayed bridge is .366 miles long and spans 1,870 ft in its entirety from levee to levee. The center arch measures 400 ft (about 40 stories) tall from the deck to the top.
The bridge that is closest to the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, Continental Avenue Bridge, will be closed soon and transformed into a pedestrian bridge and plaza for the community, further connecting West Dallas and the Design District.
Gallery images © Gus Rios