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Corpus Christi plans now for land under old Harbor Bridge

The old Harbor Bridge (left) is expected to be completely removed by 2025 after the new bridge is operational. That is expected to happen in 2023. Courtesy photo

An aerial photo of how the new Harbor Bridge lines up against the old bridge shows just how much land will be opened to development or parks in North Beach once the old bridge has been torn down. Under construction since 2016, the new bridge is not expected to be completed until 2023. The old bridge, which carries about 60,000 vehicles a day across the Corpus Christi Ship Channel, won’t be torn down until the new bridge is operational.

The Corpus Christi City Council might start the tear-down process a little earlier. At its regular meeting Tuesday, June 8, the council considers whether or not to take down the Harbor Bridge lights. Now 10 years old, the lights have been falling and failing due to metal bracket corrosion.

The through-arch bridge, which was completed in 1956, is not expected to be fully cleared away until 2025.

A whole new landscape will open where the old bridge once cast its shadow on North Beach and parts of downtown. A newly formed coalition is already working on plans for the land, a process that usually doesn’t begin until the structure has been removed.

“We're not going to wait around for decades and ask what we're going to do with this vacant property,” Corpus Christi City Manager Peter Zanoni told reporters. “We're going to have plans before the bridge is even demolished about who should control the land.”

The Harbor Bridge Right-of-way Coalition was formed to coordinate plans drawn by the city of Corpus Christi, the Port of Corpus Christi Authority, the Downtown Management District, Nueces County, and the Corpus Christi Metropolitan Planning Organization.

The hope is that the Texas Department of Transportation, which owns some of the land and uses other port- and city-owned parcels for easements, will declare certain areas surplus and transfer other sections as no-cost deeds in agreements with local agencies. Areas ripe for development include parcels of land around North Beach and the old Nueces County Courthouse on the downtown side of the bridge.

“To have the opportunity to do urban redevelopment on a blank slate is absolutely a once-in-a-generation, or even perhaps more rare, opportunity,” Jeff Pollack, planning director of the Port of Corpus Christi, told reporters. Pollack leads the Harbor Bridge Right-of-way Coalition.

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There are 4 comments.

Corpus Citizen —
Forgot to mention that the city wasted $10 MILLION on Schlitterbahn, a total waste of taxpayer money because they keep living in dreamland and not reality.
Corpus Resident —
Can we please stop acting like the "Port of Corpus Christi" is the city and not a private business? This bridge is for the oil companies and sold as being for us, just as the desal plants. The newly opened land will be wasted and end up like the rest of the city - another vantage point of an industrial wasteland. You did it. You turned a beautiful spot on the ocean into a tangled web of piping and poverty and slathered it with garbage and salt.
Michael —
How about something beautiful for everyone not just for those who can afford it
Corpus Citizen —
I'll be the first to say it, whatever the plan is for the land, it will be a massive waste of money with everything returning to the way it was after much spending. There are many prime examples of what wasting money on North Beach and on the Bayfront and convention areas has done. We used to have a beautiful shoreline that you could drive down, park and enjoy the seawall, now its a joke. Events pushed for the north end of the Bayfront end up being a traffic jam from you know what. The fountain near the Convention Center has become a nightmare, and the Watergarden is a joke on top of that. Old County Courthouse is a lost cause, yet money keeps being spent on it. And finally North Beach will always be pretty much what is is now, any money spent on trying to do more with it, will just be money wasted.

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