The Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge: So, What Are We Actually Going to Call This Thing?

A Santiago Calatrava rendering of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge.
A Santiago Calatrava rendering of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge.

We need to take care of this before it gets to be too late. We kept telling ourselves we’d get around to deciding how we should refer to the decade that ran from 2000 through 2009. The 2000s? The Aughts? And we never could come to an agreement.

Let’s not allow the same thing to happen to the Woodall Rodgers Extension Bridge, or, as the Hunt Petroleum Company would have us call it: the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge.

Hunt contributed $12 million to the Trinity River project and therefore has the right to honor the family matriarch. I have no objection to that being the official name, for the purposes of press releases and on first reference in newspaper stories. But that’s a heck of a long eponym, compounded by the fact that the double surname makes it difficult to know the proper way to abbreviate. Should it be the Hunt Hill Bridge, or just the Hill Bridge?

Generally, we the media have punted. It’s usually either something like “the Calatrava bridge” or “the Santiago Calatrava-designed bridge” on second reference in news articles. When we just can’t avoid the issue, we’re stuck having to repeat the whole damn name, as the Dallas Morning News does here, or as our own FrontRow blog does here.

Stop the madness. Surely we’re going to come up with a generally accepted nickname anyway. You know, whatever traffic helicopters will say when they need to talk about bottlenecks on the bridge, e.g.  “Heavy backup onto Woodall this afternoon due to a three-car pileup on the Marge.”

Let’s make this happen sooner rather than later. My proposals:

1) The Calatrava (named for the architect) – It’s how we most often hear people refer to the bridge anyway, right? Yes, the name is a number of syllables itself, but its vowel sounds flow together easily, unlike the hard stops forced upon the speaker by the Ts in “Margaret Hunt Hill.”  The other objection is that a second Calatrava bridge is in the works, but since we all know that the Spanish architect was asked to make his other design a cheaper version, let’s face the fact that we’re really only going to have one fully-formed Calatrava bridge.

2) The PVC (named for its appearance) – I’ll admit to being among those who think the bridge’s main feature looks like Dallas decided to make a knockoff of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis out of PVC pipe.

3) The Marge (a nickname) – Our best, most enjoyable option for shortening “Margaret Hunt Hill.” With the added benefit that, provided the Margaret McDermott Bridge (the bridge over I-30, which was also to have been a Calatrava design) comes into existence, Dallas can come to be known around the world as “Home of the Marges.”

The Marge, almost ready for primetime.
The Marge, almost ready for primetime.

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