A 98-year-old, accident-prone southeast Texas bridge is being upgraded following a long and bumpy bidding process. The U.S. Coast Guard declared the rolling-lift single-leaf bascule causeway bridge connecting Galveston Island with Texas a navigational hazard in 2001.
The 108-ft-wide bridge often is struck by barges, costing more than $2 million in repairs each year, says Raymond Butler, Gulf Coast Intracoastal Canal Association�s former executive director. A new structure�designed by Galveston County with Mechanicsburg, Pa.-based Modjeski and Masters�triples the clearance width. Bids came in higher than expected in October, resulting in value-engineering changes, says Mike Fitzgerald, Galveston County engineer. The relocation of two water pipelines, truss modification and elimination of a full-time tugboat requirement cut costs.