Key Fort Worth bridge almost ready for traffic again

Posted Monday, Oct. 07, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Let’s celebrate! Fort Worth’s West Seventh Street bridge, closed and replaced during the past four months, is just days away from carrying traffic again.

The landscaping and sidewalks won’t be finished for another month, but the traffic lanes could open by midweek, says Val Lopez, spokesman for the Texas Department of Transportation.

A party and a parade (does anyone NOT expect a ribbon to be cut?) is tentatively set for Nov. 15-16, but there are plenty of reasons to start celebrating now.

• The new bridge is unique. Its 12 signature arches were constructed on dry land nearby and hauled into place to hold up the span across the Clear Fork of the Trinity River just west of downtown. The finished structure will have recessed lighting and stainless steel webbing.

• Construction is about a month ahead of schedule. Sundt Construction of San Antonio had plenty of incentive to work quickly and efficiently: a bonus of as much as $990,000 for early completion. Four months to tear down a 100-year-old bridge and replace it is pretty fast work.

• The new sidewalks — at 10 feet, more than twice the width of those on the old bridge — will be very nice. They’ll be separated from the traffic lanes by the 12 arches, giving pedestrians and cyclists a greater sense of safety. The sidewalks join the Phyllis J. Tilley Memorial Bridge and the recently opened Clearfork Main Street Bridge along the Trinity Trails.

• The trip downtown will be normal again. Traffic to and from downtown has been diverted to West Lancaster Avenue, White Settlement Road and other routes. There have been times when the alternates have been packed with cars, and that hasn’t been pleasant.

Those days are almost over.

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