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Soon We'll Know Exactly What Calatrava's Second Trinity River Bridge Will Look Like

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With all the hullabaloo surrounding the completion of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, not to mention what must have been a righteous party, it was easy to forget that world-renowned architect Santiago Calatrava was supposed to design two more of his signature (e.g. big, white, and arch-y) bridges across the Trinity River.

Those plans, you'll recall, were scaled back considerably as the economy took a nose dive. That third bridge probably won't happen at all, and the design for the second span, which will replace the I-30 bridge and has already been named for its benefactress, centenarian philanthropist Margaret McDermott, was reduced from four swooping arches to just two swooping arches. Also, rather than having a brand-new bridge, the new plan calls for the I-30 bridge to be reconstructed, with the "signature" element limited to the new bike and pedestrian bridges.

Still, no one was quite sure how the whole thing would be funded until the TxDOT wrapped it into the Horseshoe Project, the $818 million rework of the downtown Mixmaster. So the estimated start date was pushed back from late 2011 to mid-2012 and finally to the spring of 2013, where it still stands.

But things are now moving forward. The city and TxDOT are preparing to enter into an advanced funding agreement that will allow the state agency to allocate the $91.2 million in state and federal funds going toward the project. And we will soon know exactly what the bridge will look like.

The city is responsible for designing the bike and pedestrian elements, and assistant city manager Jill Jordan says that portion is 90 percent complete. Designs are expected to be finished by the middle of next month, at which point we'll know, in more detail than the model above, just what the thing will look like.

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