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Controversial Benbrook-Fort Worth bridge gets the go-ahead - but with restrictions

Homeowners oppose proposed bridge near I-20 and Bellaire Dr. South

Twelve homeowner's groups in both Benbrook and Fort Worth are opposing a proposed bridge across the Clear Fork of the Trinity River near I-20 and Bellaire Drive South.
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Twelve homeowner's groups in both Benbrook and Fort Worth are opposing a proposed bridge across the Clear Fork of the Trinity River near I-20 and Bellaire Drive South.

Benbrook has moved one step closer to building a long sought-after bridge it says it needs to improve fire and police response time to the northeast portion of its city that's adjacent to Fort Worth.

The Fort Worth City Council Tuesday night by an 8-0 vote approved the agreement between the two cities that sets strict rules over the construction and use of the bridge. Councilman Cary Moon was absent.

And in the end, most of the control of the bridge lands in Fort Worth's hands.

Benbrook will design, build and maintain the estimated $1.6 million structure. But if Benbrook violates the agreement, Fort Worth "shall revoke" Benbrook's access license.

District 3 Councilman Brian Byrd said the solution "gives both parties what we're looking for."

"My position has always been that we should always be able to solve these problems without a bridge," Byrd said. But, he added, "we have a solution here that allows them to have access to their folks that they were having a hard time getting to and keeps traffic down on Bellaire Drive."

Paul Clark, who lives in Fort Worth's Meadows West neighborhood, called the agreement "a prudent solution."

For more than a year, Fort Worth residents living in the Meadows West and Bellaire Park North neighborhoods fought the proposed bridge, saying it would flood unwanted traffic into their serene neighborhood. The bridge will connect the access road north of Interstate 20 to Bellaire Drive South at Meadowpark Court, over the Clear Fork of the Trinity River.

When Benbrook first proposed the bridge, they wanted it to include lanes for bicycles and pedestrians. Benbrook said its emergency vehicles are slowed by heavy traffic at Bryant Irvin Road and Vickery Boulevard.

Fort Worth has been studying the agreement since February.

Under terms approved Tuesday night, Fort Worth will ask the Texas Department of Transportation for an easement for a one-lane, 15-foot wide gated bridge that can't be expanded or altered. It will require codes that can only be used by emergency vehicles. Fort Worth will then give Benbrook a license to access the bridge.

Sandra Baker: 817-390-7727, @SandraBakerFWST
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