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While the old Harbor Bridge sits idly by, in the distance comes the new bridge slowly making its way across the Port of Corpus Christi. TxDOT recently announced that the project hired a new designer for the main spans of the bridge but no completion date has been released.

CORPUS CHRISTI – The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) announced last week that the developer of the New Harbor Bridge Replacement Project, Flatiron/Dragados, LLC (FDLLC), has selected Arup-CFC as the new engineering firm to oversee design work on the main spans of the New Harbor Bridge. 

Both Arup and CFC are global firms with offices in Texas, and they have more than seven decades of experience resolving design and engineering challenges, including involvement in more than 50 cable-stay bridge structures. In 2009, they teamed up to work on the nearly 755 foot N25 Waterford Bypass in Waterford, Ireland, and are known for their cable-stayed bridges throughout the world.

Earlier this year, TxDOT said in the statement that it has instructed Flatiron/Dragados LLC (FDLLC), the developer of the U.S. 181 Harbor Bridge Replacement Project in Corpus Christi, to remove FIGG Bridge Engineers Inc. (FIGG) from any future work on the main spans of the project.

TxDOT previously alerted FDLLC that it was suspending FIGG’s design work to fully review the October 2019 findings by the National Transportation Safety Board and its investigation into the March 2018 bridge collapse in Florida. FIGG was the design firm responsible for that project.

The findings regarding FIGG are significant enough for TxDOT to request a replacement design firm for the New Harbor Bridge main spans.

“As safety is TxDOT’s top priority, 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,” TxDOT Chief Engineer Bill Hale said in a statement. “TxDOT looks forward to the future completion of this landmark project, which will be a success for Coastal Bend residents and the State of Texas.”

Arup-CFC will lead a team of experts responsible for reviewing, recertifying and completing the design of the New Harbor Bridge.

TxDOT said that the selection of a new engineering design firm allows the project to continue moving forward with the construction of the New Harbor Bridge main spans, generally described as the cable-supported, signature portion of the bridge that crosses the Corpus Christi ship channel.

All other work associated with the major new interchange at I-37/US 181/SH 286 and the approaches to the bridge, have continued to move forward throughout this selection process. 

As it has from the beginning, TxDOT continues to be involved in the project oversight and is confident that all construction work completed to date is safe and has been built in compliance with the specifications.

TxDOT’s statement also said that with a new engineering firm in place, TxDOT and FDLLC will work together to develop a schedule for project completion and any updates related to the project completion date will be released as information becomes available.

Paul Gonzales is a reporter at The News of San Patricio and can be reached at 361-364-1270, or by email at pgonzales@mysoutex.com.


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