FORT WORTH The contractor rebuilding the West Seventh Street bridge can earn a bonus of nearly $1 million for getting the structure reopened to traffic in fewer than 150 days.
And beginning Friday night, thousands of inconvenienced Fort Worth drivers likely will be rooting for Sundt Construction Inc. to earn all that cash.
Beginning at 8 p.m. Friday, the bridge connecting Fort Worth's popular West Side with downtown will be closed, so crews can begin demolishing the century-old structure.
Sundt Construction of San Antonio has pledged to get the bridge open within 150 days - which should put the completion deadline at 8 p.m. Nov. 4. But companyofficials have plenty of incentive to get the work done early.
For every day Sundt can deliver the project ahead of that schedule, the company will be paid a $33,000 bonus, according to Sundt's contract with the Texas Department of Transportation. The bonus offer is good for up to 30 days, meaning Sundt can make up to $990,000, transportation department spokesman Val Lopez said.
"I think everyone is rooting for them to do a good job, and get it done as quickly as possible," Lopez said.
Traffic will be detoured to West Lancaster Avenue during the closure (see map below). White Settlement Road is also an alternate route.
With the closure of the bridge, the project is entering its most intensive phase. State and city officials met frequently with area business owners to map out a plan that minimized the amount of time traffic would be disrupted during the project. Ultimately, they chose to close the bridge all at once, on the condition that the work could be substantially completed after the city's annual Mayfest celebration but before the start of the bustling Christmas shopping season.
For more information on the West Seventh Street bridge project, click here.
p.s. If you're curious about the photo at bottom, check out this story. It seems a young man in Massachusetts dressed up as a bridge for Halloween and got an up close tour of a new bridge there. Perhaps this story will inspire TxDot to throw a community Halloween party on the bridge and give candy to kids ... assuming Sundt gets the job done by then.