Because Italian steel is cheaper. Much cheaper.
Many assumed that the specially fabricated Italian steel being used to build the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge was more expensive than plain old American steel.
But the cost of constructing the Calatrava-designed bridge with American steel would have been about $45 million more than the cost of using Italian steel, state transportation officials said. According to recent estimates, the total cost of building the bridge expanse and arch is estimated at about $69.7 million.
Using the Italian steel was complicated by American trade law, which requires that bids for foreign steel fabrications be at least 25 percent less than U.S. fabrications.