A noticeable milestone recently marked progress on the $2-billion public works project known as The Trinity River Corridor project. It is one of the largest urban developments in the nation, stretching 20 mi through Dallas and encompassing 10,000 acres.

The project was designed with a landmark bridge, the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge. It will features a distinctive arch and serve as the centerpiece of the Santiago Calatrava-designed bridge that will span the Trinity River.

In late summer, two of the largest and highly anticipated pieces of steel for the bridge arrived in Dallas. The pieces, which weigh 100,000 lbs each, are part of the arch.

Each cylinder stretches 36 ft long and measures 17 ft across. A 600-ton crane lifted the two cylinders from the Continental Bridge and down into the corridor.

“Any project this big is bound to have challenges and, of course, we’ve had many and probably will have many more,” Gail Thomas, president of The Trinity Trust, told Texas Construction. “The delivery of the steel has been one [of those challenges]. It came from Italy, and it takes a long time to receive the shipment and get the steel to Dallas.”

Thomas says the weight of the enormous cylinders caused many logistical concerns. For one, they were too big to come down the main highways. The bridges they crossed on the back roads had to be tested to make sure they could handle the weight, she says.

The white steel will be used for the bridge’s central arch, which will reach 400-ft high upon completion. Pieces of the arch could begin being hoisted into place by the end of the year. Other elements include a 1,200-ft long span with miles of cable holding the bridge span in place.

The Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge is the first vehicular bridge designed by Calatrava in the United States. The bridge will eventually connect Singleton Boulevard in West Dallas across the Trinity River to Woodall Rodgers Fwy (Spur 366) in downtown Dallas.

Once built, the bridge will become Dallas’ signature landmark for the Trinity project and will replace the Continental Bridge, which will serve as the pedestrian bridge. A second Calatrava Bridge—the Margaret McDermott Bridge—will start construction at a later date.

“The Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge marks the first of many to come achievements of the Trinity River project,” Thomas says. “It will draw the attention of people to Dallas and will bring their imagination back to the Trinity River.”

“We’re trying to create a place for people with a great park system along the Trinity River that will bring people together,” she adds.

The bridge is scheduled to be complete in June 2011. The completion for the entire Trinity River project is likely 2016, Thomas says.

The project is a collaborative effort by the city of Dallas, the Texas Department of Transportation, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Houston-based Williams Bros. and Dallas-based J. D. Abrams Inc.

“There are many agencies working on this project at one time, so every agency has to be consulted with every move. That is essential and wonderful, but it is a challenge,” Thomas says.

Other plans for the project include a downtown lake, wetlands, hike-and-bike trails, a whitewater course, riding paths and nature walks through the Great Trinity Forest, Thomas says. The Trinity River Audubon Center is already completed.