Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Hunt: "This is very deceptive."

Trinity River toll road sketches challenged


Copyright 2007

DALLAS - After hearing arguments over whether a toll road should be built inside the Trinity River levees, voters now have the chance to see what it could look like.

Led by Mayor Tom Leppert, the pro toll road group, "Vote No, Save the Trinity," released two videos made by the North Texas Tollway Authority that join new drawings of how the toll road would appear next to the urban park. However, the accuracy of the depictions has already been challenged.

"We feel very comfortable," said Mayor Tom Leppert of the visuals on the video. "Again, those were done by people who actually are responsible for those things.

In one scene, concrete supports for an exit ramp are placed in the levee. However, the Army Corps of Engineers, who must approve the project, said that hasn't been approved since the pilings could violate the structure of the levee. A new sensitivity to strength of levees has arisen since Hurricane Katrina.

District 14 City Council member Angela Hunt has opposed the toll road and claims it would hurt the urban park. She said she is skeptical of how the video and drawings make the toll road appear compatible with the park.

"This is very deceptive," she said.

In a drawing released by the city, there's landscaping in the levee although the Corps frowns upon trees planted in the levee.

"But the fact is you can't plant these trees here, and this is a deceptive drawing," she said.

But what's not art but reality is that the downtown Dallas freeways are congested. Toll road supporters say it's a big part of relieving that traffic.

"To do the work on the mixmaster we are going to have to have a reliever," Leppert said.

© 2007 WFAA-TV, Inc. www.wfaa.com

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