Flatiron/Dragados LLC Starts Site Prep for Corpus Christi's $809M Harbor Bridge
Texas Construction News from Virtual Builders Exchange
Perspective of the new Harbor Bridge above the Corpus Christi ship channel. Courtesy Flatiron/Dragados LLC
Posted: 4-7-2017, 4:37 p.m.
by Adolfo Pesquera
Corpus Christi (Nueces County) - Site preparation has begun for the drilling of shafts at the north end of the $809 million U.S. Highway 181 Harbor Bridge Project.
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, site preparation is also underway for the pre-cast yard in Robstown, where concrete segments will be produced and sent to the project site.
Project and local officials held a ceremonial groundbreaking in August 2016, but it was not until last month—and after months of training construction workers on the equipment—that site preparation got underway.
Lane closures went into effect March 5 to allow crews with American Electric Power to perform utility work.
Flatiron/Dragados LLC, the design-build firm, must replace the existing Harbor Bridge and reconstruct portions of US 181, Interstate 37 and the Crosstown Expressway. The new bridge will be slightly further inland (west) of the old bridge, and will align directly with the Crosstown Expressway (SH 286) where it intersects I-37. Flatiron/Dragados LLC is a joint venture of Broomfield, Colorado-based Flatiron, and Dragados USA.
The project includes development, design, construction and maintenance of 6.44 miles of bridge and connecting roadway. The bridge will have six-lane sections, three lanes in each direction, with a median barrier, shoulders and a bicycle/pedestrian shared-use path, according to project documents.
The new bridge will be completed by 2020. Once it is usable, demolition of the old bridge will begin and the tear-down is expected to take another year.
TxDOT determined years ago that the existing steel bridge needed to be replaced because of safety and cost issues. The grade is too steep, it lacks shoulders and has had a higher than average accident rate. With a peak height of 205 feet, the new bridge will also be higher over the ship channel to allow passage of larger ships.
Once complete, this will be the tallest structure along the Coastal Bend south of Houston. The two towers that support the cable-stays reach a height of 538 feet-2 inches.
It will be the longest cable-stayed bridge in the United States with a main span of 1,661 feet, and its concrete structure will be corrosion resistant, designed to last 170 years. To withstand harsh coastal conditions (extreme wind and salt), twin pre-cast concrete box girders with precast delta frames will ensure maximum durability.
The lead engineering firm is FIGG Bridge Engineers Inc. The maintenance firm is Iridium (acting through ACS Infrastructure Development Inc.) and DBi Services. Texas subcontractors and design sub-consultants include KBR and Austin Bridge & Road.
The project manager, Frank Daams, held the same role in the construction of the John James Audubon Bridge in Louisiana, currently the longest cable-stayed bridge in the country.
Adolfo Pesquera is a veteran news journalist. He has previously worked for Hearst Corp., American Lawyer Media, News Corp and Freedom Communications. His work has been published in newspapers and magazines throughout the United States. He is a communications graduate of the University of Texas-PanAmerican.
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