Thousands cheer new Trinity River bridge

Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge

Credit: Jonathan Betz / WFAA

Pedestrians could appreciate the beauty of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge arch from a unique perspective on Saturday.

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by JONATHAN BETZ

WFAA

Posted on March 3, 2012 at 7:18 PM

Updated Saturday, Mar 3 at 7:24 PM

DALLAS — After a decade of waiting, the Margaret Hunt Hill bridge is now a reality, as people from around the world gather in Dallas to celebrate the newest icon of the city's eclectic skyline.

It is also the city's first new span over the Trinity River in decades.

The bridge may just look like an arch from afar, but get anywhere near it — especially under it — and you will see pure art — a vision realized after years of planning.

The project cost $182 million. World famous architect Santiago Calatrava designed the bridge, and we'll see his mark in the future, too.

Thousands of people took the opportunity to get an up-close look at their new bridge on Saturday, including the man who designed it. Calatrava told News 8 he'd like to keep working for Dallas.

Originally, he was to design two other complimentary bridge sover the Trinity River, but rising costs and other delays have scaled down the project — and Calatrava's role.

He still has a hand in designing the second bridge, which will replace the current Interstate 30 span and will include its own signature arch. Our first look at plans for the I-30 bridge are expected to be unveiled next week.

But plans for the third bridge, for Interstate 35E, are not yet final, and city leaders say it's unlikely the city can afford another Calatrava design.

That is disappointing to the Spanish architect, who said he'd like to design the third and finish the vision that was hatched nearly 15 years ago.

"It is necessary, I think, to do at least a third piece, who will, of course, complement," Calatrava said. "They have to be like sisters speaking with each other."

No architect or design has been selected for the third span, although the state says it does have the $818 million needed to build the next two bridges.

Construction on the second bridge could start as early as next year, but the fact remains that the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge is not yet ready for vehicles. That should come before the end of the month.

E-mail jbetz@wfaa.com

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