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Corpus Christi Harbor Bridge Design Suspended

Two inspectors from the National Transportation Safety Board discuss the collapse of a pedestrian bridge at Florida International University in March 2018. The board released its findings October 22, citing design flaws as a major cause. Photo courtesy of NTSB

Design work on the new Harbor Bridge has been suspended by the Texas Department of Transportation, announced TxDOT in a statement late Thursday, November 14. The suspension, which happened sometime in the last month, came after the National Transportation Safety Board declared on October 22 that a fatal bridge collapse in Florida was caused by design flaws.

FIGG Bridge Engineers Inc., which is designing the Harbor Bridge in Corpus Christi, also designed a pedestrian bridge for Florida International University that collapsed in March 2018, killing six people and injuring 10 others. The joint venture of Flatiron and Dragados were not part of the Florida project.

TxDOT released a statement about the suspension after a local TV station inquired about a rumor that Flat Iron/Dragados had been removed from the project.

“The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) continues to fully review the recent findings by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) for applicability to TxDOT projects," the statement reads. "During this review, TxDOT has asked Flatiron/Dragados LLC, the developers of the Harbor Bridge Replacement Project, to suspend design activities on the Harbor Bridge project."

TxDOT also recently announced that the bridge project is two years behind schedule and would not be completed until sometime in 2023 rather than 2021.

NTSB’s investigation into the Florida bridge determined that “load and capacity calculation errors made by FIGG Bridge Engineers Inc. are the probable cause” of the collapse.”

FIGG released a lengthy statement after the findings denying responsibility.

“The accident was the result of a complex series of events and failings by parties at multiple stages of the project,” the statement reads.

NTSB also faulted the Florida Department of Transportation for failing to provide appropriate oversight during construction. Of the 11 recommendations from the NTSB, five were aimed at Florida’s transportation department.

Both bridges were designed using an accelerated construction process known as design build, which allows for construction to begin before design is complete.

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There are 3 comments.

Kirby Murphy —
We knew about the Florida bridge as soon as the Construction Contract was announced, and so did the person or group the awarded the Contract. This is what corruption looks like, are you willing to die on this Bridge and let these people walk with the money in their pocket? Haven’t seen any Politicians question any thing. what do you think?
Keith —
I don't understand how they can suspend "design work" on a project that has already began. Wouldn't the design need to be completed and approved before actual construction begins? Maybe someone can explain this?
Parkay —
Design Build always ends in cost overruns, inferior product, and sometimes unsafe results. There are 3 factors in construction. Schedule, Cost and Quality; change one and you affect the other two. Accelerating the project by DB you drive the cost up and quality down.

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