Commuters in Northeast Tarrant County will be happy to know that, on the surface, the Trinity Boulevard bridge is virtually finished.
Over the last couple of years, frequent drivers have gotten used to squeezing through two lanes that occasionally shift to accommodate bridge construction.
Lane dividers are being put in now and when they are finished, orange barriers should disappear from the short four-lane bridge over Valley View Branch, south of Bell Helicopter and in between Bell Spur and Norwood Drive.
“Within about two to three weeks the bridge will be fully open and finished, for all intents and purposes,” said Jayce McMahon, owner of McMahon Contracting, which is doing the roadwork.
But underneath, where every storm brings a troll, there is still work to be done.
The bridge’s underbelly was damaged in March 2014 by runoff from a severe thunderstorm and has been plagued by storms ever since.
Most recently, wire-mesh-bound blocks of stone intended to impede erosion on the banks of a normally docile creek began to “float away” in the runoff from a recent storm, McMahon said.
“We were near completion, and the articulating blocks started washing out,” he said.
McMahon said that it’s up to engineers to find a solution that will keep the blocks in place, or design another way to channel the torrent that flows when there is a major rain event.
This process takes time and patience, but the end result will be worth the wait.
Janice Thompson-Burgess, Fort Worth spokeswoman
When the solution to the latest setback is found, a change order will be presented to the city of Fort Worth that not only will postpone the project’s completion date but also will increase costs past the original $3.789 million contract value, McMahon said.
“We don’t have a definite number on that yet,” he said.
Fort Worth is working with the engineer and contractor “to determine a course of action,” Cindy Vasquez, a city spokeswoman, said in an email.
“Any work required associated with this issue will be in the channel and will have minimal impact on traffic on Trinity Boulevard,” Vasquez wrote.
The work is part of the 9700 Trinity Boulevard Drainage Improvements project, which began in December 2013. The project is designed to carry away runoff from the bridge and a stretch of road that for decades has been notorious for becoming impassably flooded during storms.
“The Trinity Boulevard area has six infrastructure projects that address flooding, traffic signal improvements, increased roadway capacity, safety and economic development,” city spokeswoman Janice Thompson-Burgess said. “This process takes time and patience, but the end result will be worth the wait.”
‘It’s taking too long’
A delay on the under-bridge work doesn’t upset S.M. Ahmed, owner of the nearby Smoke & Vapor Shop on Precinct Line Road. What gets his goat is construction that’s widening Trinity Boulevard about 100 yards from his store. His business, as well as others in River Trails Plaza, is suffering.
Traffic is constantly backed up at the four-way light at the intersection, which makes getting in and out of nearby businesses an exercise in frustration.
“It’s very bad now with the construction,” Ahmed said. “It’s taking too long. All these businesses are hurting.”
$10.5 million, cost of project to widen Precinct Line Road to four lanes from Texas 10 to Trinity Boulevard.
Texas Department of Transportation is in charge of a $10.5 million project to widen Precinct Line Road to four lanes from Texas 10 to Trinity Boulevard. That includes the Trinity Boulevard intersection and a bridge over Walker Branch, said Val Lopez, a transportation department spokesman.
The project, overseen by Haydon Capital, should be finished around the end of August, said Chuck Putnam, a transportation department project manager.
“That’s the latest baseline schedule,” Putnam said. “Late summer or early fall, probably.”
‘They had to widen Trinity’
A project to turn Norwood Drive into a three-lane artery from just north of Trinity Boulevard to just past the Trinity Railroad Express crossing, and allow a left-turn lane at Texas 10, is scheduled for completion in early summer, said Thompson-Burgess.
Other construction includes a divided four-lane Trinity Boulevard from Loop 820 to Thames Trail. Plans call for a landscaped median, multiuse trails on each side of the roadway, drainage system improvements and new water and sanitary sewer lines, Thompson-Burgess wrote.
“A roundabout will be constructed at the entrance to Trinity Lakes Development, and a traffic signal will be reconstructed at the Salado Trail intersection,” she wrote. “After project completion, Trinity Boulevard will no longer be in a floodplain.”
They had to widen Trinity.
Teresa Ouimette, a Lakes of River Trails resident
Teresa Ouimette, a Lakes of River Trails resident, said all the construction on or near the stretch of Trinity Boulevard that runs through her neighborhood demands that drivers “plan more if you have to get somewhere by a certain time.”
But Ouimette said that plotting a path around barricades is a concession she’s willing to make for the promise of easier times to come.
“We love this area,” she said. “It’s affordable, and you get a lot more for your money. That means the area has grown a lot, so we need this [construction]. They had to widen Trinity.”