DALLAS — Less than a month after the landmark Margaret Hunt Hill bridge opened, the Texas Department of Transportation revealed it is months away from selecting a contractor to build two more bridges across the Trinity River — including another signature span.
"We expect to start construction the beginning of 2013," said TxDOT spokeswoman Cynthia White.
TxDOT has narrowed a list of contractors to three for this project; the winning firm will both design and build the bridges.
The Interstate 35E bridge, south of the skyline, and the Interstate 30 bridge from the west are the focus of this project.
"We have over 300,000 cars daily going through that whole area," White said.
The I-30 bridge is supposed to have another signature span, becoming the city's second new landmark bridge. It is designed by Santiago Calatrava, who created the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge.
The new bridges are known as the "Horseshoe Project" — an $818 million improvement.
The I-30 bridge will have bike lanes, frontage roads and a high occupancy vehicle lane in the middle. All told, White said, it would be enlarged from six to 16 lanes.
"If it's moving to 16 lanes, then I definitely have a concern," said Kessler Park resident Venesa Sokolovic.
Others in this quiet community hidden south of I-30 and west of downtown share similar concerns.
A couple of years ago, neighbors got TxDOT to install sound walls and repave part of the freeway with a noise-reducing asphalt after discovering the decibel level was higher than appropriate.
"As you can hear right now, it just sounds like white noise," said Ben Sokolovic, Venesa's husband.
Homeowners want the 16-lane expansion built with the same noise-reducing features. They will be meeting with TxDOT in two weeks.
"The budget for the Horseshoe must provide for sound-reducing materials and plans to protect the quality of life for our residents," said Sara Reidy, President of Kessler Neighbors United. "We really shouldn’t figure it out after the project is completed and then fix the problem — we need to work with the state and the city to figure what’s best for the neighborhood now."
The aging bridges that will be replaced date back to 1957. Replacement is critical, TxDOT said.
Residents just hope they are heard, so the freeway is not.