We've been watching from Unfair Park HQ as pieces of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge have been lifted into place, and earlier today Mayor Tom Leppert and the rest of the City Council bunch saddled up to get their own up-close look at the construction. It's a closed-off site, but the city was good enough to invite us to tag along, packing a dozen reporters into an extra city van.
We made it to the riverbed just ahead of the rain, with just a few minutes to wander the site and compare hard hats we'd stolen from past media tours. Construction crews were assembling a big red crane, while the last three massive sections of the bridge's arch were laid out on the ground.
Once the City Council arrived and threw on their protective gear, they took up a spot in front of the arch's center section, a piece of the bridge that'll stand 400 feet over the riverbed once it's in place. Packed in the middle of a tight council scrum, Leppert did a fine job reciting his prepared remarks, while those of us with cameras jockeyed for position and grumbled at the radio folks jutting their mics in our shot. "It is an exciting day, despite the Texas heat. It is one we've all looked forward to," Leppert said from in front of the bridge piece. "Today, we're gonna put our name on it."
With that, he and the council members turned around and became the new bridge's first bunch of taggers (just inside the metal pipe, though, so nobody can see). Mary Suhm signed with an outline of her hand; Steve Salazar free-handed a Dallas skyline, or tried to, and the mayor said it all signing just three letters: "Tom."
Jump for more photos of the City Council's stab at urban art, and the rest of the media happening.
The downtown skyline as the weather closes in around the construction site.
Construction crews try to assemble a giant crane in the riverbed while reporters circle threateningly.
The massive section of pipe that'll form the apex of the bridge's center arch.
A look inside one of the arch sections.
City Council members arrive at last.
Mayor Tom winds up to shake hands with folks at the construction site.
Jerry Allen escorts Pauline Medrano across the treacherous terrain.
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Council members are issued their ceremonial Sharpies.
Dave Neumann lays down the significance of the occasion.
Steve Salazar makes an effort at drawing the Dallas skyline.