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Design Work on TX Harbor Bridge Delayed

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

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Earlier this month, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) announced the suspension of design work for the Harbor Bridge project, a move made after reports indicated that FIGG Bridge Group had been removed from the project. Previously, FIGG designed the pedestrian bridge that collapsed at Florida International University last year.

According to the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, the announcement was made several weeks after the National Transportation Safety Board released its findings related to the FIU bridge collapse.

Harbor Bridge Project

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. The joint venture Flatiron/Dragados LLC was chosen in 2015 by TxDOT 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.

In February, project progress was announced via images posted showing recently completed concrete placement on the first lift of the new cable-stayed bridge south tower, among other signifiers of things moving forward.

Recent Developments

Regarding the FIU bridge collapse, the NTSB found that the probable of the incident was related to load and capacity calculation errors made by FIGG. The NTSB also alleged that the consulting engineer Louis Berger’s inadequate peer review also contributed to the bridge’s collapse. TxDOT has asked Flatiron/Dragados to cease design work on the Texas project in the meantime.

Corpus Christi Mayor Joe McComb noted late last month that he’d been assured by TxDOT that the new structure would be safe, emphasizing he was sure “they are making inspections more frequently and thoroughly than they did and are firmer on discrepancies they may find. I think we've been given comfort; our project won't have those kinds of problems."

TxDOT issued its own response to inquiries, noting "they have been and will continue to be directly involved in the review of the bridge design and inspection of ongoing construction work and will ensure the new harbor bridge will enhance safety for motorists."

The project’s original completion date was slated for 2021, but with recent issues and delays that date has been set back to early 2023.


Tagged categories: Bridges; Government; Infrastructure; NA; North America; Ongoing projects; Project Management; Quality Control

Comment from Mark Taylor, (11/19/2019, 8:30 AM)

FIGG has become radioactive. Their reputation has been permanently harmed by the FIU collapse. If I'm not mistaken, they are the same firm that designed the problematic spans in Mt Pleasant, SC on I-526 over the Wando River (James B Edwards bridge). That bridge has been closed many times over the years due to corrosion problems in the cables from water penetrating the bridge. FIGG faces a tough future if they have lost the confidence of municipalities to deliver safe, reliable bridges.

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