DALLAS Despite continuing cost increases, the Dallas City Council voted Wednesday to approve two signature arches for the new Margaret McDermott Bridge, which will span the Trinity River, replacing the current Interstate 30 bridge.

The latest cost for the arches, designed by famed Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, is $115 million, $12 million higher than the previous estimate.

But through a combination of cost-cutting, a private $5 million donation from the Trinity Trust Foundation, county money, and an additional $1.9 million in city funds, the Council closed the gap or closed itat least satisfactorily enough for a Council majority to approve the plan by a 10-2 vote.

Council member Tennell Atkins supported the design and the price tag. "We are in Big D, and Big D means your going to do big things," he said.

Council member Scott Griggs voted against backing the cost increase, saying he was concerned by the total's ascent from the original cost of $74 million. Griggs said he also doesn't like that the McDermott Bridge and the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge another Calatrava design that opened last year will jointly cost about $600,000 to maintain. That's about 1 percent of the city's total streets budget, he noted

Mayor Mike Rawlings also supported the soaring bridge arches, which will carry pedestrian and bike paths. "It has happened because of a lot of people's hard work, some great philanthropists have stepped up in a major way from the private sector," he said.

Most of the cost is covered by $91 million in federal earmark funds secured by former Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and Dallas Rep. Pete Sessions both Republicans and Democratic Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson.

The Texas Department of Transportation is to build the bridge and parallel arches. Construction should start in May with the project completed by spring of 2017.


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