Friday, September 29, 2023 Sep 29, 2023
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See the Cool New Bridge That Snarled Traffic On Central Expressway Over the Weekend

Sure, it may have caused a few delays as it shut down North Central Expressway for the weekend. But longtime proponents say the new, gleaming Northaven Trail pedestrian bridge will connect Dallas' trail system a little more, and is also one-of-a-kind.
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As the sun set Saturday night, TxDOT crews began readying the 800,000 pound arch piece of the Northaven Trail bridge to be placed across North Central Expressway. Courtesy Jeff Kitner

If you avoided North Central Expressway this weekend, your commute Monday morning may have come with a surprise—a large, white pedestrian bridge spanning the entire width of the highway that was vaguely reminiscent of the city’s twin signature bridges downtown.

Approved in 2021, the bridge has been years in the making, starting with an effort from former Dallas City Councilman Lee Kleinman and the Friends of Northaven Trail. The new bridge connects the Northaven Trail to the White Rock Creek, Cottonwood Creek, and SoPac trails to the east of the highway. Northaven Trail starts at Denton Drive, but will eventually also connect with Irving’s Campion Trail on the west and beyond.

The bridge is a $9.3 million project between the city of Dallas, TxDOT and the North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG).

Saturday evening, the work of installing the pre-built 201-foot-long arch of the bridge began. The highway was shut down for roughly 20 hours between Royal Lane and Forest Lane. At times traffic was backed up thanks to the closure, but the roadway opened up again Sunday afternoon. 

The bridge isn’t quite ready for cyclists and pedestrians just yet, though. TxDOT says it anticipates having the ramp approaches to the elevated platforms at either end of the bridge and the remaining engineering work completed by the end of October.

Friends of Northaven Trail president and District 11 Dallas Park and Recreation board member Jeff Kitner told our sister publication Preston Hollow People that the goal was to not only connect more of the region’s trail system but to also serve as a connection between two sides of the city.

“This will allow the city to really open up for everybody and will allow people who are on the east side to connect and see the beautiful Northaven Trail as well too,” Kitner said. “I think our city and our region are moving in the right direction by adding in more trails like these, more connection points to really open up our communities.”

Kitner also provided some specifics—the bridge is kind of a big deal, and not just because the arch weighs in at 800,000 pounds. 

“It’s complicated because no bridge like this has ever been completed in the United States before, according to TXDOT,” he said. 

By Sunday morning, the bridge was nearly in place. Courtesy Jeff Kitner

The network-tied arch bridge (which means that it has supports that cross each other at least twice) also has a double-curved deck, which means it’s the only one of its kind in the world. According to TxDOT, that singularity was intentional.

“The project will also stand as a regional example of the positive benefits of appropriate location and design aesthetics for future bicycle and pedestrian trails and amenities,” read a project fact sheet from TxDOT.


Bethany Erickson

Bethany Erickson

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Bethany Erickson is the senior digital editor for D Magazine. She's written about real estate, education policy, the stock market, and crime throughout her career, and sometimes all at the same time. She hates lima beans and 5 a.m. and takes SAT practice tests for fun.

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