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Corpus Christi Bridge Construction Delayed

Friday, March 1, 2019

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Joint venture Flatiron/Dragados LLC, the entity responsible for designing and building Corpus Christi, Texas’ new $930 million Harbor Bridge, announced earlier this month that the project would likely not meet its April 2020 completion deadline.

Despite this announcement, the first span was put into place on the north side of the ship channel earlier this month, marking a significant milestone. Company officials have attributed the delay to weather conditions and permitting issues.

Harbor Bridge Project

The bridge is to carry U.S. Route 181 across the Corpus Christi Ship Channel off Corpus Christi Bay, replacing the current Harbor Bridge, a through arch bridge that was built in 1959.

According to the Caller Times, the original Harbor Bridge needed to be replaced due to having outlived its design.

The new bridge, to be constructed of concrete, will have a main span length of 1,661 feet, surpassing Louisiana’s John James Audubon Bridge as the longest cable-stayed bridge in the country. Flatiron/Dragados LLC was chosen in 2015 by the Texas Department of Transportation for the design-build contract for the project.

The bridge’s main tower will be 538 feet tall, which the project team says will make it the tallest structure in South Texas. It will clear the water by 205 feet, an increase of 67 feet over the current bridge’s clearance, which will allow larger ships to pass into the Port of Corpus Christi.

According to Flatiron/Dragados’ plans, the bridge will be constructed with twin precast box girders with precast delta frames, creating maximum strength in extreme wind. Stays will be covered with white casings to provide a backdrop for a nighttime lighting display.

Completion Date Delay

When Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales asked if 2020 was still looking to be a feasible completion date, John Palmer, deputy project manager for the Harbor Bridge Project, noted that it probably wasn’t.

Third-party and permitting issues, along with weather problems, were the primary culprits blamed for the construction delay. Palmer went on to add that a new completion date would be determined once the joint venture had had the opportunity to consult with TxDOT. Flatiron/Dragados hopes to announce the revised date in the near future.

The first phase of work on the channel—namely widening and deepening the channel in order to allow for the passage of larger vessels—is scheduled to begin in the coming weeks. Port officials have said that they are hoping for a 2021 completion date for the entire expansion project.

Port CEO Sean Strawbridge noted that he was not concerned about the bridge construction delay, which will not have any effect on the channel expansion project.



Tagged categories: Bridges; Construction; Infrastructure; NA; North America; Program/Project Management; Project Management

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