Panther Island / Central City News

TxDOT Signature Bridge Project Progress July 2020

Work has continued full speed ahead on the three Signature TxDOT bridges on Panther Island. Since January the contractor has been working seven days a week with multiple shifts and crews on all three bridges. Below are a few construction highlights on the three Signature Bridges as well as a recent Fort Worth Star-Telegram article on the progress of the TxDOT Signature Bridges.

White Settlement Bridge

  • All eight V-Piers are complete and all eight major Tie Beams (large support beam under the bridge deck) have been installed.
  • Four of the five box girder infill areas between the V-Pier bents have been constructed and the majority of the bridge is now “free standing” and not relying on the erected false work for support. The box girder is the portion of the bridge that supports the roadway.
  • It is anticipated that the entire bridge box girder system will be completed by the end of July.
  • Major post tensioning tendons have been stressed and grouted. The steel cables are initially installed unstressed and as the bridge construction progresses, the steel cables are stressed by hydraulic jacks and applying a million pounds of tension allowing the bridges to carry future traffic loads.
  • Work is currently underway to install the Permanent Metal Deck (PMD) forms across the entire bridge. The PMD forms will allow the contractor to pour the bridge deck.
  • Major portions of the Panther Island Red brick sidewalk pavers, landscaping, lighting and electrical systems have been installed adjacent to the bridge.
  • The White Settlement roundabout capstone wall and landscaping have been completed.
  • TXDOT’s current, accepted schedule projects that the bridge will be open to traffic by the end of 2020.

Henderson St. Bridge

  • All eight V-Piers are complete and all eight major Tie Beams have been installed.
  • Major post tensioning tendons are currently being stressed and grouted. The steel cables are initially installed unstressed and as the bridge construction progresses, the steel cables are stressed by hydraulic jacks and applying a million pounds of tension allowing the bridges to carry future traffic loads.
  • Steel placement is currently underway on the five box girder infill areas between the V-Pier bents and abutments. The box girder is the portion of the bridge that supports the roadway.
  • Major portions of the Panther Island Red brick sidewalk pavers, landscaping, lighting and electrical systems have been installed adjacent to the bridge.
  • The Henderson roundabout capstone wall and landscaping have been completed.
  • TXDOT’s accepted schedule projects that the bridge will be open to traffic by the end of 2021.

North Main St. Bridge

  • All four V-Piers are complete and all four major Tie Beams have been installed.
  • Major post tensioning tendons are currently being stressed and grouted. The steel cables are initially installed unstressed and as the bridge construction progresses, the steel cables are stressed by hydraulic jacks and applying a million pounds of tension allowing the bridges to carry future traffic loads.
  • Steel placement is currently underway on the three box girder infill areas between the V-Pier bents and abutments. The box girder is the portion of the bridge that supports the roadway.
  • Major portions of the Panther Island Red brick sidewalk pavers, landscaping, lighting and electrical systems have been installed adjacent to the bridge.
  • TXDOT’s accepted schedule projects that the bridge will be open to traffic by the end of 2021.

Before the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) can begin rerouting the river, three signature bridges are being built in a dry condition to maintain access in the area throughout the duration of the project. The bridges will reroute traffic flow over two former railroad crossings, decreasing delays. This project is being constructed by TxDOT with the City of Fort Worth as the local sponsor.

From the recent article from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on the bridge progress:

After years of delays, could Panther Island’s bridges be ready sooner than expected?

Fort Worth Star-Telegram By Luke Ranker 7/9/20 — Work on the downtown Fort Worth bridges, needed for the Panther Island project, has moved swiftly enough that officials now say two of the three spans may be done slightly early. Of course, early at this point is still behind the original completion date and a later delayed schedule, but Doug Rademaker, a senior project manager for the city, said work on bridges for Henderson and North Main streets is moving faster than expected. The bridge on White Settlement Road, the only road without a detour and the cause of much anxiety for businesses in the area, is on track to be done by the end of December. The other two bridges are scheduled to be done by the end of 2021. Rademaker said it’s too early to tell exactly how far ahead those bridges are, but they could be completed several weeks sooner. Traffic may be allowed on the bridges before they’re completely finished. Once scheduled to open in 2017, the bridges were delayed by design issues, and officials have pushed the completion date back several times. Contractor Texas Sterling increased workers on site to as many as 120, Rademaker said, and had been running three shifts seven days a week. Sunday shifts were recently canceled. The progress has been a welcome site for business owners along White Settlement Road, which have taken a financial beating from the road closure, said Steve Metcalf, president of the White Settlement Road Development Task Force. The road has no detour, making places like Angelo’s BBQ and an assortment of automotive shops difficult to access. “It’s crazy how busy they’ve been,” Metcalf said of the bridge workers. While White Settlement’s completion date hasn’t changed, the progress has been encouraging, he said, since for years updates about the bridges often involved delays. The coronavirus pandemic appears to have not hampered the contractor’s work, Rademaker said. “It’s been full steam ahead even through the outbreak,” he told the Star-Telegram. Earlier this year, project managers increased the bridges’ $69.9 million budget to a little more than $89 million. The North Central Texas Council of Governments’ Regional Transportation Council approved the extra money in the form a $15 million federal transportation grant and another $5 million that will be paid back to the council of governments through a special tax district. TxDOT reached an agreement with Texas Sterling late last year and paid the contractor about $15 million to continue work under a new agreement designed to speed up work. Trinity River Vision Authority board members heard an update on the bridges Wednesday during a virtual meeting. Members of the public trying to watch the live stream could not hear discussion or presentations for nearly 20 minutes due to a technical glitch. The three bridges are needed for a $1.17 billion project that would create Panther Island by cutting a bypass between the two forks of the Trinity River as a means to control river flooding. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers would dig the channel, but the project has not received significant federal funding in at least three years. Annually the local Corps office requests between $35 million and $40 million. This year, the federal government provided $1.5 million for a feasibility study. Mark Mazzanti, the former Army Corps executive hired last year as a consultant for the local effort, told board members funding is not out of question for fiscal year 2021. The Corps and Congress are preparing budgets with details expected by late September, he said. Panther Island could be eligible for other funds, if Congress were to take up a new stimulus bill or increase infrastructure spending, Mazzanti said. “We are definitely positioning this project” for that type of funding, he said.