The wings of Calatrava

The efforts of the authorities in Dallas and a substantial donation have made possible the flight of Calatrava in Texas.

Margaret Hunt Hill.jpg

Hi, I warned him several times to Calatrava: «You do not do this to me, I have many commitments in Dallas and I cannot devote much time to contemplate the surrounding landscape». Obviously, he has ignored me (again) and has designed two bridges (in fact three) that not only have been around the World: have forever changed the image of the most powerful city of Texas.

If someone thought at some point that the assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was going to turn the tide of the city, remained in ostracism, nothing to do with the reality: this city has given an example of fortitude and strength to the rest of the State and, therefore, to the rest of the Nation. Okay, I admit, I speak with passion because for me it is the best city in the United States, and clear, I can’t, I want not, (I must not) hide my passion for the Texas City where so many good business has closed my family since time immemorial, I, Rodolfo, owe much to this city, personal and economically.

Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge

Margaret Hunt Hill of Trinity river

The two bridges designed by Mr. Calatrava cross the same river, Trinity River, the first, already completed in the year 2012 and that it crosses the Interstate 35, was a revolution aesthetic to the city, the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge. The opening was delayed a few days by my fault, the Dallas authorities had warned me that without my presence was not going to inaugurate the bridge, in the end, it was a pleasure to be the guest star for this fantastic construction. The bridge cost 120 million of dollars (110 million of euros), consists of a tour of 365 meters, where by their six-lane, cross per day more than 14,000 vehicles (some say that 40,000). The shape of the bridge does not simulate an arc, in my opinion, represents a gateway to the city, the cultural and active part of this (my favorite).


I counted 58 steel strands (a pleasure) that cross over the bridge in both directions, and that pass through the white structure in its upper part, a milestone. The total height is almost 122 meters and its structure is made up of sections of steel white that are introduced into the bed of the River on both sides of the rails. The advantage of this type of structure is that the forces of steel burden are transmitted to the foundations (in the middle of the river) in the form of vectors (representation of the address of the forces) perpendicular to the horizontal plane, this greatly reduced the area of distribution which have to withstand loads. The cables are installed directly on the axis of the bridge, supporting the beams that act in the form of overhang on both sides, in this respect is important to consider the calculation with two possibilities: that a section is fully charged and the other not and that both are charged. I know that it is pretty obvious, but it is worth recalling it.

Construcción Arco Puentes Margaret Mcdermott 3

A very funny question (in my view) are the critical voices that have arisen because this bridge is very similar to the other two located in Reggio Emilia (Italy). It’s funny because were also designed by the same engineer and architect, Calatrava; for example, it is as if we criticize to Richard Gere by to do two films of the same genre, is simply ridiculous.

Margaret McDermott of Trinity River

The other two bridges called Margaret McDermott, correspond to the Interstate 30 and are in honour (as the first, already described) to the deceased Margaret Hunt Hill, which was a famous philanthropist of the pass century (1915-2007) in the State of Texas. Yesterday I was «monitoring» as they lifted the white arches of steel that will have a maximum height of 83.5 meters and will include a tour of 343 meters (fantastic). The typology of these bridges is more classic: are arches of which emerge the steel cables that support the beams of the bridge, these wires are distributed evenly to bear the burden by identical sections. This makes the forces to which the steel elements are subject believe tangent vectors to the arch at its junction with the bases of concrete, in other words, appear greater tensions in the foundations.

Construcción Arco Puentes Margaret Mcdermott 2

The American Bridge company is the contractor responsible for the supply and placement of all the elements of the steel bridges, including, of course, the arches and 98 support cables, in total, the outrageous amount of 3.292 tons of this metal (I know Islands who weigh less). In their installations are made pieces so that its realization, transfer and commissioning work is more simple and practical as possible. We must bear in mind that these pieces should be placed in its final position, supported and then soldered with precision, as always, these welds will be made by professional and proven by a equipment thoroughly (the occasion requires it).


As in all the great works of administrative origin, the controversies and the changes of opinion have been present. First was replaced the original project of the Margaret McDermott Bridge, composed of four beautiful white arches of steel, by a new with the two current arcs for the amount of 104 million dollars (95 euros), which was later increased to the 115 (105 euros). However, the Government Group with 10 votes in favour and 2 against approve the new budget, after a magnificent anonymous donation of 5 million dollars, budget cuts and extra contributions of several administrative entities, all for Dallas.

Construcción Arco Puentes Margaret Mcdermott 1

Another clear disagreement, was echoed in the room of the City Hall of Dallas, was given for one of their councillors (Scott Griggs), considering that the maintenance of the bridges (Hunt Hill and the McDermott) would have an annual cost of 600,000 dollars (550,000 euros), a 1 per cent of the budget of the city for all their vials. Luckily for us, they did not take into account this fact.

The wings of Calatrava are ending of deploy, in them, apart from circulation of vehicle engine (which will have rest areas to watch the sailing ships navigating by the river) will also enjoy the walkers, cyclists, persons with reduced mobility, and to parents with prams, all well delimited by a few curbs designed exclusively for this event well as lights for view the magnificence of the set. I repeat: Calatrava has done it again. Bye bye.

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