Dallas City Council votes to pay $7 million to repair Margaret McDermott Bridge

The Dallas City Council voted to spend millions more on a project that critics say has already been a money pit.     

It's the pedestrian and bike lanes on the Margaret McDermott Bridge.

They were supposed to open two years ago, but it will cost another $7 million and three more years to make sure cables and rods connecting the signature arches are safe for those lanes to open.

Council members decided they had no choice but to approve spending the $7 million more on the bridge, due to safety issues, even though there is a concern of rising costs.

But they also voted to first ask the Trinity Park Conservancy if they could help fund the repairs, since they pushed heavily for the now $122 million project.

All 196 cables on the bridge need to be replaced because during construction, one of the cables broke away and swung out into traffic.

Since then, cables have detached two more times.

The engineer is concerned about safety on the pedestrian lanes, and will not sign off on opening the hike and bike portions until the cables are replaced with a different type of cable.

Before the city writes the $7 million check, Councilman Scott Griggs made the motion to first ask the Trinity Park Conservancy if they will help foot the bill.

Councilman Philip Kingston added that it is past time for the city to pursue legal action against the engineer and designer.

“I think it is time for the Trinity Park Conservancy to clean up their own messes, and we need to ask them for this money and save the $7 million for another use in the City of Dallas,” Griggs said.

“We’ve had two years of very little movement and we should have already engaged a legal strategy by this point,” Kingston added. “By the time this comes back next time, I want a legal recommendation for a strategy.

“I hope staff can make sure we get this right this time because $7 million is not a little mistake, this is a big mistake,” Councilman Omar Narvaez said.

The motion to send a written request to the Trinity Park Conservancy for the $7 million, passed 10 to 4.

The city will then give the agency one week to respond to the letter.

If they don’t respond, the city will take that as a no, and move ahead with paying for the cable replacement.

A Trinity Park Conservancy spokesperson said they can’t comment until they receive the letter from the city.

The city does still have the opportunity to sue responsible parties to recover the $7 million.

Even if all goes according to plan, the city estimates it will take at least three more years before the hike and bike lanes can be opened.