A variance request that will allow for the placement of a pedestrian bridge and necessary flood mitigation measures was approved by Richardson City Council.

The request approved during the Sept. 25 meeting will allow engineers to use rocky material along creek banks and excavate a deeper channel to prevent future flood impacts for private property as well as allow for the construction of a pedestrian bridge for the proposed Cotton Belt Regional Trail.

In a nutshell

The variance was required because city regulations prevent the alteration or channelization of Spring Creek and other waterways in Richardson, according to city documents. Mobility and Special Projects Manager Daniel Herrig said the project will use similar flood mitigation measures to those used along the creek near US 75, which is about 175 feet downstream from the proposed pedestrian bridge. There will be minimal impacts to Spring Creek, based on a memo in city documents.

The new pedestrian bridge will provide a connection between the Cotton Belt Regional Trail and existing city trails, namely the Spring Creek Trail. The bridge will continue the regional trail’s access up to the CityLine Station, which will serve as one stop along Dallas Area Rapid Transit’s proposed $2.6 billion Silver Line.

The length of the proposed bridge is 400 feet with a width of 16 feet, which includes a 2-foot buffer on either side and a main 12-foot trail section, Herrig said. Funds for the project come from several sources, including grants and funding for the DART Silver Line.

Quote of note

Herrig said substantial construction on the trail could begin near the end of 2024.

“DART is looking to start procuring a contractor in the spring [or] summer of next year,” Herrig said. “That’s probably going to be a two-year process to go through construction. They hope to be substantially complete mid-2026 with the trail project.”

The context

The 26-mile Cotton Belt Regional Trail will include a 3.5-mile section within the city of Richardson. The proposed alignment of the trail will closely follow the Silver Line track running from Shiloh Station in Plano to Grapevine.

The Silver Line is expected to begin revenue service in late 2025 or by mid-2026, based on the most recent DART estimates. Herrig said the corresponding trail construction is planned in three phases, with the pedestrian bridge and Richardson trails included in the second phase.

The pedestrian bridge will run under the existing rail bridge that crosses over US 75, Herrig said.