Opening Night for Groundbreaking Fort Worth Bridge

The West 7th Street Bridge

The West 7th Street Bridge

Fort Worth will stand just a little taller today with another first under its belt buckle.

Here at Bloom Real Estate Group, we like to say that we are like Fort Worth: traditional, yet trailblazing.  A trailblazer city once again, tonight marks the opening of The West 7th Street Bridge. With 12 notable arches, the structure will be the world’s first precast network arch bridge. The innovative idea between TxDOT engineers and Sundt construction limited the amount of time the bridge was out of commission to less than 150 days, rather than the more typical headache-inducing, yearlong waiting period.

See interviews with Mayor Betsy Price, Council member Joel Burns, a Texas Transportation Commissioner and TxDOT officials for more fascinating details on the milestones and benchmarks set by this record-setting four-month construction process.

While The West 7th Street Bridge is a one-of-a-kind work of architecture, it will also serve a functional purpose as the gateway to Forth Worth’s thriving cultural district. Said cultural district is already awe-inspiring to any architecture-lover, with buildings like  The Kimbell Art Museum,designed by  Louis Kahn and and The Modern,  by architect Tadao Ando.

The old bridge, which spanned the Trinity River and connected commuters from the neighborhoods along Camp Bowie Boulevard to downtown Fort Worth for a century (that’s 100 years), was demolished in June.

I’ve followed the unprecedented and fascinating construction process through the Facebook posts and camera lens of talented photographer, downtown-lover and Fort Worth history buff Brian Luenser. His chronicle of Fort Worth’s West 7th Street Bridge construction has provided an unbeatable bird’s-eye view from his condo in the Tower, and images from his breathtaking sunrise walks along the Trinity River, including my favorite – this shot of the bridge arches being constructed offsite in a lot adjacent to Montgomery Plaza.

Photo courtesy of Brian Luenser

Photo courtesy of Brian Luenser

An estimated 12,000 vehicles a day use the bridge, and retailers, restaurateurs and residents along the West Seventh corridor have been looking forward to the bridge’s completion. If you haven’t heard yet, then you have been very hard at work today. Heavily publicized by all Fort Worth media, the Fort Worth West 7th Street Bridge officially opens tonight!  While there will be some closures and construction over the next few weeks, the opening tonight is scheduled at the curious and traffic-filled time of 5:05 p.m. Local Fort Worth dignitaries will parade across the bridge to mark the opening, perhaps giving motorists a taste of traffic one more time before sweet relief comes. For those of you who live in So’7, Montgomery Plaza and W7th developments, if you’re eating out for dinner tonight, plan on traveling by foot.

The $26-million-bridge will be officially complete later this year with plans to provide better lighting and, perhaps the most exciting and anticipated functional improvement, designated areas for pedestrians and bicyclists. Fort Worth will celebrate with a 100-year celebration on Nov. 15 – 16.

The first vehicles across the bridge tonight will represent the collaborative partners participating in the Nov 15 and 16 celebration hosted by Streams & Valleys. Partners include the City of Fort Worth, the Cultural District Alliance, Downtown Fort Worth, Fort Worth Bike Sharing, Mayfest Fort Worth, Texas, the Tarrant Regional Water District, Texas Department of Transportation and the Trinity River Vision Authority.

Be sure to check back here with updates for all things West 7th Street Bridge and all things Fort Worth!

Photo courtesy of Brian Luenser

Photo courtesy of Brian Luenser

 

Mary Carolyn Gatzke

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