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Harbor Bridge engineer also designed collapsed Florida bridge

An architect’s rendering of the new Harbor Bridge currently under construction in Corpus Christi. The cable-stay bridge was designed by FIGG Bridge Group, the same engineering firm as that of the pedestrian bridge that collapsed in Florida on March 15. Six people were killed. Courtesy illustration.

The engineering firm behind the design of the new Harbor Bridge project in Corpus Christi is the same firm that designed the pedestrian bridge in Florida that recently collapsed, killing six people and injuring 15 others. Like the Harbor Bridge, the Florida bridge, which was under construction, is being built using an accelerated construction process known as design-build. It allows for design and construction to progress simultaneously to speed the process.

The bridge at Florida International University collapsed March 15. The bridge, which was not open to the public when it collapsed, fell on top of traffic passing under it.

FIGG Bridge Group, the company involved, has built spans around the world. Unlike other large engineering firms, it only focuses on bridges and is known for its iconic, artistic designs. FIGG bridges include the Sunshine Skyway, a vast span over Tampa Bay; the Seven Mile Bridge in the Florida Keys; the Linn Cove Viaduct in North Carolina, which was designated a National Civil Engineering Landmark; and the new Harbor Bridge in Corpus Christi.

FIGG issued a statement after the collapse at FIU, stating that in 40 years of building major structures, not one had ever collapsed. The company called the collapse “an unprecedented event.”

“This pedestrian bridge collapse is truly tragic,” the company statement read. “Multiple agencies have already begun an extensive review to determine what caused the collapse, and we will work closely with all appropriate authorities in this effort.”

The firm was founded by Eugene Figg Jr., known for his work in segmental construction. His daughter, Linda Figg, now serves as the firm’s president and CEO. Eugene Figg died in 2002.

The construction firm overseeing the Harbor Bridge project told reporters the Corpus Christi build has nothing in common with the Florida bridge. Based on that fact, Flatiron Dragados LLC refused further comment.

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