New designs, unveiled April on 27 for three bridges, shaves $45 million off Fort Worth’s Trinity River Vision project costs. The $909-million urban waterfront plan aims to connect 88 miles of the river and its surrounding communities.

The original total cost for the three bridges was about $155 million. Projected cost using the original design, by Bing Thom, Vancouver, was $114 million, not including another $41 million for costs including land acquisitions. The city of Fort Worth worked with a new design team to present a citizen advisory group with cheaper options. Lead designer Miguel Rosales, president of Rosales + Partners, Boston, consulted for Fort Worth-based Freese & Nichols.

John Dewar, principal with Freese & Nichols, says the scaled-back design, featuring V-shaped piers, is budgeted at $76 million; with $33 million now budgeted for other costs, the new total is $110 million. Once the Texas Dept. of Transportation approves them, each bridge will take about two years to complete, with construction to start in 2011. The bridges will be built over dry land, Dewar adds. “The bypass channel will be built by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers,” he says.

Mark Rauscher, Trinity River Vision director for the city of Fort Worth, says the original designs followed an “interlaced bridge concept.” Modeling showed the design had to change because wider channels were needed. Thus, the bridges had to be longer, he says. As a result, the original design concept was no longer fiscally feasible.

Dewar notes that the piers will allow for a thinner superstructure. “By reducing the number of piers below, the V-pier design touches the ground half as many times as a typical bridge,” Dewar says. Crews will set cast-in-place concrete boxes with long, cantilevered overhangs.