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New Designers Hired for Corpus Christi’s Harbor Bridge

The new Harbor Bridge will be the longest in the nation when it is completed sometime in 2023 or later. Contractors Flatiron/Dragados hired new design engineers for the signature cable-stay portion of the $930 million bridge. Courtesy rendering Harbor Bridge Project

New design engineers for the Harbor Bridge span have been hired. Arup-CFC will take over the work from FIGG Bridge Engineers Inc., which was fired in February. Work on that part of the bridge was suspended last November after FIGG was named in a report by the National Transportation Safety Board critical of its work on a pedestrian bridge that collapsed in Florida in March 2018. Six people died from that accident.

The firm was selected by Flatiron/Dragados LLC, the joint venture leading the project. Arup and Carlos Fernandez Casado S.L. is also a joint venture between two companies that specialize in cable-stayed bridges.

“We have committed to the public that we will take all steps necessary to ensure and verify that the highest safety standards are met on this project,” Bill Hale, Texas Department of Transportation chief engineer said in a statement.

The main span of cable-stays that will be the focal point of the bridge equals one eighth of the $930 million project. The stays will cover 1,661 feet of the main span, which will be 200 feet over the Corpus Christi ship canal. Once completed, the Harbor Bridge will be the largest cable-stay bridge in the nation.

The new engineers have been involved in the building of more than 50 cable-stay bridges. The company has 70 years experience.

Although work continued on other parts of the bridge, having to replace FIGG put the building project at least a year or more behind schedule. Other factors have been cited as well, including weather, and permitting issues.

Originally expected to be completed in 2021, the bridge will more likely be finished in 2023 or later. Contractors have not officially released a new timeline.

As of June, Flatiron/Dragados reporter that half of the 101 cast-in-place column pier caps for the north and south approaches to the bridge have been completely installed.

When completed, the current steel bridge that was built between 1956 and 1959 will be torn down. More than 26,000 vehicles a day pass over the old Harbor Bridge along U.S. 181, the road that connects Downtown Corpus Christi to North Beach and Portland.

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