After six years of construction, a long-awaited and much-maligned "bridge to nowhere" finally can take drivers somewhere. The White Settlement Road bridge northwest of downtown officially opened to traffic on Friday, April 2. It is meant to connect downtown with Panther Island.
"It’s not only Good Friday it’s a Great Friday! The White Settlement Rd. Bridge on Panther Island is open to traffic!," the Panther Island - Central City Flood Project casually posted on Facebook at 5:50 pm April 2.
The owners of Angelo's Barbecue also alerted their social media followers on Friday afternoon that the bridge had finally opened. A Facebook post declaring "THE BRIDGE IS OPEN!!!!!!!!" garnered about 200 comments and 170 shares.
They followed up by offering $3 chopped beef sandwiches and $3 beers, April 5-10, to celebrate the bridge's opening and thank loyal customers.
Angelo's was one of several restaurants and and shops along White Settlement Road, near Henderson Avenue, whose business has been impacted greatly by the ongoing construction that blocked the road.
Officials with M2G Ventures, developers of the nearby Foundry District near White Settlement Road at Carroll Street, said they were elated that the new bridge would allow patrons to access the district's restaurants, shops, and events another way.
“The Foundry District is thrilled to see the long-awaited White Settlement Bridge open to the public," they said in a statement to CultureMap on Monday. "As the northernmost area of Fort Worth’s Cultural District, The Foundry District community and surrounding local businesses will sure-fire see a significant uptick in drive-through and foot traffic as visitors will now have an ease of ingress and egress to and from downtown. The bridge opening has been much anticipated over the past several years and is integral infrastructure not only to The Foundry District businesses but to the city of Fort Worth as a whole.”
White Settlement is one of three bridges under construction as part of the $1.17 billion Panther Island project. Work began in November 2015 and was supposed to be complete by 2018, but construction delays continued to push the opening for years, eventually into early 2021.
According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the North Main and Henderson bridges are expected to open in the coming months, too.