The Real Deal New York

There are problems with a Calatrava-designed bridge in Dallas

Certain testing was value-engineered out
February 04, 2018 05:09PM

Margaret McDermott Bridge when it was under construction. (Credit Art Davis, Pixabay)

Tensions are running high between Dallas city leaders, Texas Department of Transportation officials and Santiago Calatrava over a bridge designed by the Spanish architect.

The Margaret McDermott Bridge cost $115 million to build and was a bill largely footed by taxpayers, but, despite Calatrava’s insistence his design be tested to sustain heavy winds, no tests were ever performed, the Dallas Observer reports. Calatrava even offered to front the money for the tests but to no avail.

According to the Dallas Morning News, cables that connect from the arch to the base of the bridge are deficient, though the contractor Trinity Watershed stressed that the bridge is not a safety hazard or falling down.

How did the issue occur? Well, it was a case of value engineering, according to the Texas Department of Transportation, which reportedly was the body that requested a list of potential cost savings from the contractor — one of which was eliminating “cable fatigue testing” of Calatrava’s design.

“The city agreed to the cost savings opportunity and as a result the overall price for the bridge was reduced by $30,000 for this costs savings opportunity,” the department asserted in a letter.

In letters, an engineer for Calatrava laid the blame at the feet of the contractor, while City Hall and the Texas DOT put much of the blame on the engineer, according to the Dallas Morning News.  [Dallas Observer]Erin Hudson