A popular bridge connecting west Fort Worth to downtown is about to finally get its long-awaited makeover.
Workers on Tuesday began the slow process of moving 12 giant arches - each weighing a whopping 300 tons - into place for assembly of the new West Seventh Street bridge.
The new structure is scheduled to be completed before Thanksgiving - providing the city with an artistic new look for its transportation grid and its downtown skyline.
The first arch was scheduled to be moved Tuesday afternoon about 500 feet just from its construction site just east of the Target at Montgomery Plaza. The arch will be parked for approximately two and a half days near the intersection of West Seventh Street and Stayton Street, just across the road from Chuy's Mexican restaurant.
It will be positioned parallel to West Seventh Street, so that workers on Friday morning will be able to more easily roll it over to the bridge itself. Once the first arch is moved into place and secured on its supports, workers will move a second arch into place on Friday or Saturday, weather permitting, officials said.
The movement of the arches may be a reminder to motorists who normally use West Seventh Street to get to and from downtown Fort Worth probably that should get into the habit of using alternate routes over the next several months. On Friday and Saturday, the bridge over the Clear Fork Trinity River will be closed so that workers can move the first two of the 12 arches into place. During the rest of May, the remaining arches will be installed into their proper place with giant cranes along the river.
"The first one we're going to be quite methodical and careful," Lopez said. "But after the first one, the others should move quicker."
Then beginning sometime in June, the bridge will be entirely closed for up to 150 days so workers can demolish the old structure and put in place a new one.
Bus routes in west Fort Worth also are being rerouted during the construction of the new West Seventh Street bridge. Bus riders who normally use Route 2 to get to the Montgomery Plaza and West Seventh areas will instead use Route 10 - which is adding service frequency to accommodate the extra passengers.
Route 2 will still go to west Fort Worth, but will bypass West Seventh Street by using West Lancaster Avenue instead.
The T anticipates these schedules to be in place at least through the end of September, spokeswoman Joan Hunter said.
Photo 1: Workers prepare to move the first arch Tuesday in west Fort Worth (Gordon Dickson/Star-Telegram).
Photo 2: The vacant lot on West Lancaster Avenue where the first arch will remain until Friday morning's installation (Gordon Dickson/Star-Telegram).
Photo 3: Detours for the T's bus routes during West Seventh Street construction (Fort Worth Transportation Authority).