More bridges, improvements coming to Fort Worth riverfront



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Posted on June 10, 2014 at 5:31 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jun 10 at 5:31 PM

FORT WORTH — Fort Worth's ever-evolving landscape is about to change again.

"This is a big deal," said Mark Rauscher, the city's senior capital programs manager.

On May 29, the Texas Department of Transportation awarded $65.5 million to Texas Sterling Construction to built three new bridges at North Henderson Street, White Settlement Road and North Main Street. They will hover over what eventually is going to be a new channel of the Trinity River, meant to protect the city from flooding.

It's all part of the Trinity River Vision, a decade-long project that has an overall price tag of $909 million, according to Rauscher.

"This is an area just north of downtown — between downtown and the Stockyards," he said. "This area's been under-utilized for years."

Rausher hopes the bridges will change that. Not only will they connect with the future planned development of the area known as "Panther Island" downtown, but two of the bridges will also feature traffic circles at one end.

And in true Fort Worth fashion, the city indents to erect a public art piece by world renowned artist Ned Kahn at the center of one of the roundabouts.

The City Council was expected to approve nearly $850,000 Tuesday night to make that happen.

"There are lot of people in Fort Worth that really feel like art adds to amenities and the cultural tradition of Fort Worth," Rauscher said.

"I think it's going to be really cool when it's all finished," said Shari Barnhouse who — along with her friend Bobbie Lambert — walk this area nearly every day. The improvements have become part of their lunchtime conversations.

"I don't know about a million dollars on a sculpture," Lambert said, but she'll support it "if it makes downtown look nice and more attractive."

Construction is slated to begin late summer, and detours and bypasses will help drivers navigate through it all as this three-to-four-year project begins.