DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - The Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge will finally open to traffic on Thursday in Dallas -- gradually -- after rush hour dies down and work crews finish scurrying around in preparation for crossing motorists.
The eastbound lanes will open beginning mid-afternoon. The westbound lanes will open sometime in the evening. More exact times have not been announced. But both exit ramps to Riverfront Boulevard will be closed until construction is finished at the Riverfront intersection. Officials with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) said that this should happen sometime before the end of April.
Officers from the Dallas Police Department are standing guard on both sides of the bridge, and barricades have been placed in the area to prevent drivers from entering closed streets. TxDOT officials are ultimately responsible for the bridge opening. There is still work happening on the bridge prior to opening. Lanes are being restriped, concrete barriers are being removed. Signs are being put into place and uncovered. Traffic signals are being turned on and tested. All of these must be completed before traffic can flow across.
The temporary speed limit on the bridge is 35 mph until an official speed study is completed.
The bridge, designed by famed Spanish architect Santiago Calitrava, crosses over the Trinity River and looks to become a signature addition to the Dallas skyline. However, the tall and impressive white archway was rendered mostly invisible on opening morning due to heavy fog in that settled in the downtown area. Only an American flag on the bridge could be seen -- faintly -- as the sun started to rise over the Metroplex.
Mark Pettit with TxDOT explained that adverse weather conditions could delay Thursday's bridge plans until later in the day.
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