West 7th Street Bridge reopens ahead of schedule - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

West 7th Street Bridge reopens ahead of schedule

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The reopening of West 7th Street Bridge is great news for commuters and businesses.

Construction began in June and the project was scheduled to be completed in November.

The days of taking back roads and detours to get from downtown Fort Worth to the cultural district are over.

"There has always been connectivity between the near West side and downtown. We have expanded that capacity now," said Joel Burns with Fort Worth City Council.

The new $25 million bridge has been busy with traffic since it reopened at 5:05 p.m. Wednesday.

The Texas Department of Transportation widened it, created pedestrian walkways and constructed it to handle light rail in the future.

The series of sculpted network arches are state of the art. "This is the world's first pre cast bridge. We're very proud of it and what the design allowed us to do is to work heavily off site before we had to close the bridge," said TxDOT's Val Lopez.

Without the pre-cast arch construction, the project would have taken a year to finish. The cost of the bridge is also a lot cheaper because of the revolutionary design.

Sundt Construction Company out of San Antonio will get a $1 million dollar bonus for finishing ahead of schedule.

That's a relief to popular Mexican restaurant Chuy's located on West 7th St.

Business was challenging during the nearly four months of construction but employees found a way to have fun at work. "We were looking at ways to kinda make fun at the whole thing you know? I've got my hosts wearing construction vests and we had construction tape up and we figured if ya can't beat ‘em, join ‘em," said Chuy's General Manager Scot Brakeley.

There are a few finishing touches that still need to be done to the bridge. Sidewalks along the sides of the bridge will eventually allow people to walk and bike. Decorative lighting will also be implemented on the underside of the bridge.

TxDOT will have a ceremony in November when it's complete.

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