Thursday, February 4, 2021

Shocking Revelations Find Fort Worth Bridges Way Behind Construction Schedule

Last night an incoming text message from Elsie Hotpepper came in with text saying "You're gonna love this!"

Along with a link to an article in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram titled...

One of the Panther Island bridges in downtown Fort Worth is behind schedule, again

I do not know if you click on the above link that you will be able to read the article, or if you will be blocked by a paywall. For some reason I was able to read the article, unimpeded. 

And Elsie was right, sorta, well, I didn't exactly love this article, it is more accurate to say I was appalled and amused by this latest bit of inept Star-Telegram pseudo journalism.

Just the title is amusing. One of those pitiful little bridges is behind schedule, again? All three of those pitiful little bridges being built over dry land to possibly one day connect the Fort Worth mainland to an imaginary island have been behind schedule for years.

All three of them.

Way behind schedule.

Let's go through this article, commenting as we go along. The first paragraph...

The bridge needed to connect White Settlement Road to what eventually will be Fort Worth’s Panther Island is behind schedule, again, this time by a few weeks.

Behind by a few weeks behind the previous multiple behinds? Construction of these little freeway overpass type bridges began with a TNT exploding ceremony way back in 2014. With a then astonishing four year project timeline to build three little bridges over dry land.

Continuing on...

The bridge was first scheduled to open to traffic in 2017, along with two others, but design issues pushed completion back two years. Then in 2019, project officials said the White Settlement bridge would be finished by late summer 2020, but the date was pushed back again to the end of last year. COVID-19 and construction delays pushed the date into 2021, and a Tarrant Regional Water District spokesperson in December confirmed board members were told traffic would flow in February.

Okay, an item in the above paragraph has bugged me for years. " issues pushed completion back two years..." What are these design issues that caused such a problem with the building of little bridges over dry land? Does the Star-Telegram not employ a single investigative journalist who might try and find out what these design issues have been? 

Continuing on we will skip a couple paragraphs til we get to this one...

“Bridges for White Settlement, North Main and Henderson are being built over dry land for a cost of nearly $90 million. The three bridges are needed to connect downtown to the planned Panther Island, an 800-acre island in the Trinity River that would be formed after a bypass channel is cut between the two forks. The $1.17 billion project has languished without federal financial support for years.

The bridges are needed? So vitally needed they have been built in ultra slow motion? Needed to connect downtown Fort Worth to an imaginary island? An imaginary island which may be formed one day in the distant future when a cement lined ditch is dug between two forks of the Trinity River? And it is a puzzlement to some why this inane insane project languishes without federal support?

And then we come to this doozy...

The North Main bridge is capable of supporting a trolley, a feature that confused Panther Island board members David Cooke, the city manager, and James Hill, a water district board member. Both were interested in understanding if the bridge costs more and why such a feature was included when there is no trolley.

Oh my, one of the bridges is capable of supporting a trolley. A feature which confused various board members responsible for this ongoing Boondoggle. Are there any modern bridges, anywhere, which are not able to support a trolley? 

Continuing on, we will skip two paragraphs which discuss Fort Worth's hapless efforts, a decade ago, to build a short trolley line, and get right to the final paragraph in this latest example of Star-Telegram journalistic ineptitude...

Rademaker said he wasn’t sure what the North Main Bridge would have cost without sections designed to hold a streetcar. There is not track on the bridge. Concrete has been poured so that if the city wanted to run a trolley, a new bridge would not bee needed, he said.

Rademaker is a senior project manager for Fort Worth. Perhaps someone in this position not knowing rather germane factual details, such as the cost of various elements of a project, might be an element, among many, why this relatively simple public works project has become America's Dumbest Boondoggle.

And see if you can spot two rather embarrassing embarrassing mistakes, of the erroneous verbiage sort, in that final paragraph, copied and pasted, from this Star-Telegram article.

Does this newspaper not employ any editors? Or proofreaders...

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