Opening of signature Dallas bridge in jeopardy

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by JASON WHITELY

Bio | Email | Follow: @jasonwhitely

WFAA

Posted on February 22, 2012 at 10:54 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 11 at 9:06 PM

DALLAS — Recent rains have delayed concrete work on the new Margaret Hunt Hill spanning the Trinity River near downtown Dallas. The Texas Department of Transportation said that might delay its opening to traffic.

"With the rain we've had, that's caused some delays," said TxDOT spokeswoman Cynthia Northrop White. "Right now, we've got great weather. We hope we continue to have that so they can continue to make great progress."

The grand opening of the bridge is 10 days away.

TxDOT said the city's official ribbon-cutting and the three-day event surrounding it will go on as planned, but News 8 has learned traffic might not be permitted on the bridge immediately.

"The concrete work is not all finished," White said.

Specifically, work remains on the elevated portion of the new main lanes over Riverfront Boulevard, which connect the Woodall Rogers Freeway to the Margaret Hunt Hill bridge.

TxDOT said that could delay drivers from using it until mid-March. But even then, News 8 has discovered the bridge will not be complete.

"We're shooting to have it substantially complete, which means it's drive-able," White said. "That doesn't mean all the striping will be done... all the painting will be done."

Even after the east-west lanes open, not all the ramps will be ready.

TxDOT said it will take a little longer to finish the flyover connecting the southbound lanes of Interstate 35E to westbound lanes on the bridge. In addition, for drivers leaving West Dallas, the ramp looping around to the northbound lanes of I-35E still needs work.

White said TxDOT will meet with the contractor early next week to get a clearer picture of what work remains... and when the city's newest bridge will open to drivers.

E-mail jwhitely@wfaa.com

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