Work Resumes on Texas’s Corpus Christi Harbor Bridge

The Harbor Bridge is a landmark in Corpus Christi.

Source : Wikimedia

November 9, 2022

Author : Alex Bustillos

The Harbor Bridge, a landmark in Corpus Christi, Texas,  is being upgraded. The bridge will be South Texas' tallest and the nation's longest cable-stayed bridge.

The new bridge will have a shared-use path, community plaza, nightly LED lighting, and xeriscape vegetation. The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) project design and build projects for over six miles of bridge and roadway.

Three months after work ceased on the new Harbor Bridge, State Senator Chuy Hinojosa (D-TX) said the project work would soon commence.

The TxDOT halted construction on the main cable-stay segment of the Harbor Bridge at the beginning of July, citing the possibility that design faults could have led to the bridge's collapse.

The TxDOT submitted a letter to the project's contractor, Flatiron/Dragados, outlining five major safety issues.

  • Insufficient capacity of the shafts dug into the pylons.
  • Due to defects in the footing caps, IBT reported that the bridge might collapse under specific load situations.
  • Delta frame design faults.
  • Significant elevation gain at the intermediate piers
  • Torsion and other stresses in excess during building.

However, Flatiron/Dragados stated that its design work is "completely compatible with the conditions of the comprehensive development agreement" and questioned why Texas DOT had permitted so much of the bridge to be constructed despite having recognized the faults much earlier.

In July 2020, a joint venture between Arup and CFC took over the design and engineering work begun by FIGG Bridge Engineers. The TxDOT terminated FIGG after a National Transportation Safety Board assessment determined that the engineer's designs were the "probable cause" of the 2018 pedestrian bridge collapse at Florida International University in Miami, which claimed the lives of six people.

The approximately $1 billion project, originally slated for completion in 2020, is now tentatively planned for completion in 2025. Once the remaining design difficulties are resolved, a more accurate timeframe will be provided. Alleged design problems in the bridge's main cable-stayed segment and the cranes' placement during construction remain outstanding.

Redesigns and repairs will be paid for by the contractors, although the ultimate cost of the modifications is not yet known.

Senator Hinojosa stated, "[Flatiron Dragados has] agreed to pay all costs that will be incurred because of the changes that we make, to make sure that we have a safe bridge being constructed."

The project entails the construction of the bridge and approximately 6.5 miles of roadway on U.S. 181, which spans the Corpus Christi Ship Channel off the Gulf of Mexico. In addition to being safer for users than the previous Harbor Bridge, the additional clearance on the new span will enable the Port of Corpus Christi to compete with other deep water ports on the Gulf Coast.

The legal ramifications caused by TxDOT's August notice of default to Flatiron/Dragados remain in effect, allowing the DOT to dismiss the contractor without issuing a new notice. According to an agreement reached on October 6, it will remain in place until Flatiron/Dragados commences work to remedy the DOT's design concerns to its satisfaction.

Category : Department of Transportation State Government Bridges Public Works

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