Texas Dept. of Transportation officials have directed contractors building the new Harbor Bridge in Corpus Christi to temporarily halt work on the cable-stayed portion over unspecified safety concerns.
TxDOT engineers raised concerns over the planned installation of some bridge structure elements and warned that “safety issues could arise” if construction continued, officials said in a press release announcing the suspension of some work July 15. However, TxDOT declined to answer questions about the specific design elements in question. A spokesperson from the Flatiron/Dragados joint venture leading the project also did not respond to ENR's inquiries.
“We work hard to maintain productive relationships with all of our partners to deliver projects efficiently, and we cannot compromise on safety,” Lance Simmons, TxDOT chief engineer, said in a statement.
Officials didn’t say what impact they expect the suspension to have on the project’s completion date.
This is the second time TxDOT has halted the project over design concerns. As ENR previously reported, in 2019 the state paused design work for the bridge following a National Transportation Safety Board report on the 2018 collapse of a FIGG Bridge Engineers-designed pedestrian bridge in Miami. FIGG was removed as engineer-of-record from the Corpus Christi project. A team of Arup and CFC was later selected to take over as engineer-of-record.
The plans call for construction of a total of 6.4 miles of bridge and connecting road to replace the current Harbor Bridge over the Corpus Christi Ship Channel at an estimated cost of $1.1 billion, according to the U.S. Dept. of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration. A pair of 538-ft-tall towers will support the 1,661-ft-long, six-lane wide main span. The bridge carries Interstate 37, U.S. 181 and State Highway 286 over the channel. A nearby highway interchange is also being reconstructed as part of the work, and the current bridge is set to be demolished following completion of the new bridge.
In a March work update, Flatiron/Dragados said the north and south cable-stayed bridge towers were both “rising steadily” and crews were installing 40 tendons of 31 strands each for tower table post-tensioning. Most of the substructure piers for the north and south approaches had been erected, and structure work for the interchange was underway.