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Fort Worth crews make way for the river as part of Trinity River Vision

Posted Sunday, May. 16, 2010


TRVA 0001FORT WORTH -- Large trucks are moving 10,000 cubic yards of dirt a day along the Trinity River on the north side.

The goal is to create more flood storage space for the Trinity River Vision project before construction starts on a bypass channel in 2013.

By the time the earth-moving project is completed, more than 400,000 cubic yards of dirt will have been moved along the south bank of the Trinity River, plus 150,000 cubic yards on the north bank.

The flood-control work "provides greater safety for the community," said Saji Alummuttil, project manager for the Army Corps of Engineers. The work is part of Central City, the federal portion of the much larger Trinity River Vision.

Local partners include Fort Worth, Tarrant County and the Tarrant Regional Water District. When completed in 2021, the flood control and economic development project will stretch from the near north side to Gateway Park.

The $3.3 million contract is the second phase of the Samuels Avenue Valley Storage project being undertaken by The Penna Group Llc., a Fort Worth-based company, and is scheduled to be completed by December.

The company's bid was $2.2 million less than the corps projected, Alummuttil said.

Michael Evangelista-Ysasaga, Penna's CEO, said the recession helped drive down the costs. About 30 people are working full time at the site, and a total of 250 have received work through subcontractors.

TRVA 005Once the work is finished on this section of the Trinity, flood storage work will move eastward to the Riverside Oxbow area near Gateway.

The earth-moving project is being staged on the site of the old Fort Worth auto impound lot on Northside Drive.

The pound has moved to Brennan Avenue, just north of the river, where it is using about 4 acres of city-owned property and plans to expand into a second parcel this summer. It is behind the Trinity River levee and is outside of the footprint of the Trinity River Vision, said Mark Rauscher, a senior assistant to the city manager.

Last week, the zoning commission turned down the city on a zoning change for small parcel to connect the two parcels. Rauscher said the expansion of the auto pound will likely go forward but exclude that small parcel.

This month, the city also revealed new designs for three bridges for the bypass channel. Construction on the Henderson Street bridge, the first of the three, is scheduled to begin by the end of next year.

Trinity River Vision officials remain confident that funding will continue even though House Republicans have pledged not to seek earmarks this year.

U.S. Rep. Kay Granger, R-Fort Worth, the project's staunchest supporter, has made the pledge, but Senate Republicans have not. Trinity River Vision officials have said they will seek funding through Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas.

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