Written by Phil Cerroni
By Phil Cerroni
A question in the mind of anyone driving down either Hwy 183 or Hwy 114 is what does the City of Irving plan to do with the dried-out dustbowl that used to be Texas Stadium? More importantly, when are they going to do anything with it?
The City has already created renderings for what is being called the “Signature Bridge,” a sweeping, cotemporary structure that will connect the 78 acres remaining from the former Texas Stadium grounds to 218 acres of virtually empty land across Hwy 114. Besides providing easy access to the DART station for both vehicular and pedestrian traffic, the bridge gives the City the option of creating one, massive district.
Residents will be happy to know that they should not have to pay a cent for this shiny, new bridge.
“This bridge is being built with funds that were generated through the use of the site – ticket holders and that type of thing – and those funds have already been collected,” Doug Janeway, Irving’s Chief Development Officer for Real Estate and Development assured.
Combined with the DART station, the Signature Bridge will be the principle mans of getting in and out of the new area.
“Since the rail is on the frontage there, you can't really cross the rail other than across this bridge,” Janeway said.
The City also plans to connect two neighboring lots of 69 and 85 acres respectively in order to make them part of this development. For example, recently installed high tension wires were placed high enough so that there is clearance for a bridge to go in from the existing Texas Plaza Bridge to the these vacant lots.
“All the deals we've had with TxDOT and the utility companies have been geared towards maintaining good connections for roadways,” Janeway said. “Every day that they get closer to completing the entire infrastructure around the stadium site, that site becomes more valuable and more developable.”
The bridge, which is planned as part of Phase II of the Diamond Interchange, is cued behind a handful of current and pending TxDOT projects in the area, including the ongoing I-635 improvements and future work to widen Hwy 183. For the time being, the stadium site is being used to stage equipment and materials for these enterprises.
Nestled directly in the middle of North and South Irving, the new “Diamond District” will have the opportunity to be a new and unique part of Irving, and although the City does not know exactly how it wants to develop the land, it will be a massive expansion. When connected, the four adjacent lots will equal about 500 acres of usable space.
Neither the bridge nor the district will be realized for a number of years, however. Phase II also includes improvements on Hwy 183, Hwy 114, and Spur 348, and Janeway said that it would be wise to consider this project like the I-635 expansion – a five year deal. The City is not letting the long timeframe slow down their preparations, however.
“Out next steps are to move forward with the final design and continue to partner with TxDOT to bring the whole project to fruition through our connections with the State, RTC and all the various regional players,” Janeway continued. “This will serve as a gateway to Irving and as a catalyst for what's going on out there.”