The Fort Worth City Council on Tuesday approved spending $6.63 million on bridges for the Trinity Uptown project.
The money will come from the 2008 capital improvement bond program and go toward a total of $73.7 million from regional toll revenue and federal, state, and local funds to build the three bridges on Henderson Street, North Main Street and White Settlement Road, according to city documents.
All council members and the mayor voted for the funding except Councilman W.B. “Zim” Zimmerman, who was absent.
“It is a game-changer for Fort Worth,” Mayor Betsy Price said. “It changes the face of Fort Worth. It brings a whole new level of development downtown. It extends out to the north side and pulls those two areas together. It is extremely popular with most of the citizens.”
The Texas Department of Transportation is expected to bid the projects in May and start construction in late July, said Mark Rauscher, the city’s senior capital programs manager. Finishing all three bridges should take about three years, he said.
The bridges are a beginning phase of the Trinity Uptown project, which includes creating a 1.5-mile-long channel of the Trinity River to form a 33-acre lake, an 800-acre island and waterfront development on the city’s north side.
The vision depends on Congress to provide about half the $910 million needed to complete the project.
Still, Price said, building the bridges first makes sense because it’s cheaper to build on dry land than on water.
“If I had concerns about the project moving forward, then I’d have concerns about the bridges. But I see the project moving forward at a nice rate,” she said.
City spokesman Bill Begley said that prominent detour signs will go up in the area before construction but that the work is not expected to seriously affect traffic flow.
The Trinity River Vision Authority, the management agency for the project under the Tarrant Regional Water District, has acquired about 95 percent of the land needed to build the channel and the bridges.
The council also approved an economic development agreement with Clearfork Development Co. for a project at Edwards Ranch in southwest Fort Worth.
The agreement includes a $30 million economic incentive package to be paid out over 15 years and is needed to fill projected gaps in development costs.
The incentive is in the form of a Chapter 380 grant from a percentage of real and personal property tax and a portion of the city’s sales tax.
The land will be developed in three phases for about $300 million, with the first phase involving $180 million of investment for at least 300,000 square feet of office space and space for shops and restaurants, and 300,000 square feet for multifamily use.