DALLAS - New details about the delayed opening of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge came Thursday.

News 8 first broke the story Wednesday night, when the Texas Department of Transportation said the bridge won't be open until well after the big celebrations on March 4.

Late Thursday, the city said the bridge will open March 29, nearly four weeks after the event.

TxDOT at one time forecast the bridge would be done in January, according to one city source. But no wanted to hold a party in the cold.

So the city set the celebration for the first weekend in March, with TxDOT confirming work was ahead of schedule. But TxDOT told the city recent rains delayed concrete and soil work, and Mayor Mike Rawlings said he accepts that.

This stuff will happen, and so I [accept that,] Rawlings said. I looked into it, I understand what has happened. Am I totally happy? No, but it is what it is, and let's move over in a positive way.

TxDOT said work remains on the elevated portion of the bridge over Riverfront Boulevard, which connects the Woodall Rogers to the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge.

Even after the east/west lanes open, not all the ramps will be. TxDOT says it'll take a little longer to finish the flyover connecting Southbound 35 to west bound on the bridge. Plus, leaving West Dallas the ramp looping around to 35-North still needs work.

TxDOT said the bridge could've opened with partial lanes, but Rawlings said the city turned that down.

We were going to be able to have one lane going each direction, Rawlings said. We didn't want that. We wanted to make sure it was all right.

So the city is left with holding a three-day celebration to open a still unfinished bridge. Not the situation Rawlings, a former marketing CEO, likes, but he looks to the bright side.

We're going to have a great celebration, he said. It's going to be a lot of people down there having a party, enjoying the bridge.


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