Calatrava Critical of Large Marge’s Slew of Ramps

Have practical concerns about traffic obscured some of the beauty of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge design?  Photo by Scot Miller
Have practical concerns about traffic obscured some of the beauty of the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge design? Photo by Scot Miller

Thanks to the DMN City Hall blog for pointing to this Bloomberg News article about the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge. While the writer has lots of nice things to say about the Santiago Calatrava design, he suggests that Large Marge may (because of Dallas’ “obsession with moving vehicles”) end up as nothing more than “an ornament on the skyline.”

And Calatrava himself doesn’t like how his bridge has been integrated into our road system:

On the other end, though, the road divides into a tangle of ramps that head in six directions to the intersection of two freeways. The ramps cost $100 million alone, half of which was land acquisition. This obsession with moving vehicles has filled Dallas and Fort Worth with a huge freeway landscape and epic traffic jams.

“I told them they didn’t need all those ramps,” Calatrava said when I spoke to him in his Park Avenue townhouse office after I returned to Manhattan. He said they could instead have sold the land next to the bridge and earned money on developments that feature bridge and parkland views.

But how practical is that viewpoint? Could we have gotten by without some of those interchanges? The primary objective of the bridge was always traffic relief, right? Once we decided to make Large Marge “world class,” should we have sacrificed some of that original aim?

Comments

  • D. Shapiro

    Never considered the aesthetics of our bridges since I am always busy looking at the billboards covered in strip-club ads.

  • Justin

    “But how practical is that viewpoint? Could we have gotten by without some of those interchanges? The primary objective of the bridge was always traffic relief, right? Once we decided to make Large Marge “world class,” should we have sacrificed some of that original aim?”

    The powers that be already dictated that the speed limit over the bridge will be a whopping 35mph, it seems like they already sacrificed some of the original aim but left in all the concrete.

  • Jackson

    The answer is no, we couldn’t have sacrificed the interchanges at the eastern end of Large Marge. After all, we are talking about Interstate 35 and Woodall Rogers, major transportation corridors in the heart of the city.

  • Hannibal Lecter

    The purpose of the bridge has never been traffic relief. It’s replacing a perfectly good (and far more attractive) bridge less than 100 yards away that is WAY under capacity.

    It’s always been about that “world class city” thing.

  • GMOM

    Who’s runnin’ this show?? If Sr Calatrava wanted his art to be the center piece of Dallas art, he should have done a piece of art!! Large Marge looks like string art, you know a spider web?? Jeez, Dallas, get it together.

  • Bob

    Huh? He criticizes Dallas’ obsession with moving vehicles? That “obsession” is what led to the creation of this bridge. Do these critics not hear themselves?

  • Walker

    Is there a reason that the eastbound ramp that turns around and goes to the stop light at Continental/NB Stemmons appears unnecessarily long? Is there a function to that aspect that relates to the additional cost? I can’t figure it out.

  • Whoop

    The primary purpose of the bridge and greater Trinity project is to enhance commercial real estate speculators and development.

  • CSP

    “Epic traffic jams”? Snicker. Until you live in a place like DC or LA, you really don’t know what epic traffic jams on a regular basis look like. I laugh at everyone who thinks we have truly awful traffic here. We don’t.