The Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge Celebration was the debut of Dallas’ newest architectural icon connecting Downtown Dallas to West Dallas over the Trinity River. More than 40,000 people attended the opening celebrations from Friday through Sunday, March 2-4, when it was a once-in-a-lifetime chance to walk, run and party on the bridge and toast the best new view in town.
The bridge, Santiago Calatrava’s first vehicular bridge in the United States, will officially be opened to traffic this evening. Rain fall had pushed construction back along the access ramps and delayed the opening from March 5 until today.
Santiago Calatrava said, “The Bridge is built not only with steel, concrete, and pure materials, it is also built with other materials. It is built with courage, it is built with faith, and it is built also with love. It is built with the courage of those who have promoted this project. It is built with the faith of those who believe in the future of this city, and it is built with the love of those who genuinely love the city of Dallas and the people of Dallas – and I am one of them.”
The first master plan had been implemented in the late 1990s. Halff & Associates had been involved in this plan and suggested Santiago Calatrava because they had seen his work and his bridges in Spain. In the late 1990s (1999) Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk had asked Margaret McDermott if she could make a donation to hire Calatrava to design a bridge, and she agreed. Construction began on June 14, 2007 and was completed in March 2012.
The construction contract for the signature span and approaches inside the levees was awarded for $69.7 million, the contract for the approach spans outside the levee was awarded for $50 million.
The six lane, cable-stayed bridge is .366 miles long and spans 1,870 ft in its entirety from levee to levee. The center arch measures 400 ft (about 40 stories) tall from the deck to the top.
The bridge that is closest to the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, Continental Avenue Bridge, will be closed soon and transformed into a pedestrian bridge and plaza for the community, further connecting West Dallas and the Design District.