TX construction crews break ground on nation's longest precast concrete cable bridge

Dive Brief:

  • Construction has kicked off on the $930 million Harbor Bridge replacement in Corpus Christi, TX, which, when complete, will be the longest precast concrete cable-stayed bridge in the U.S., according to Equipment World.
  • Flatiron/Dragados was awarded the design-build contract for the bridge, which will feature six lanes with shoulders, a pedestrian walkway and enough clearance to accommodate larger ships.
  • The existing span will be demolished once the new bridge is complete, but Texas Department of Transportation officials said the shipping lane will not have to be closed because Flatiron/Dragados is using precast concrete in the bridge's construction.

Dive Insight:

Port authorities and transportation departments all over the country are complete with or in the process of upgrading their bridges to be able to accommodate the larger post-Panamax ships designed for the new $5.4 billion Panama Canal expansion. Some ports are ready, but, for example, those in Charleston, SC, and Savannah, GA, are not. The Bayonne Bridge upgrade project is also behind schedule, which means large ships cannot currently access three of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey's largest port terminals. The Skanska USA-led joint venture performing the work on the Bayonne Bridge said it would be late 2017 before the bridge will be able to allow post-Panamax ships through.

The Corpus Christie Harbor Bridge is the latest U.S. bridge and tunnel project that involves Dragados. The company is part of the Tutor Perini-led joint venture currently at work on the Alaskan Way Viaduct in Seattle. The project is three years behind schedule, largely due to the breakdown of Bertha, the tunnel boring machine that was out of commission for two years. Once the TBM was up and running again, it was only a few weeks until a sinkhole opened up overhead, delaying the project once again. In its latest report, the Washington State Department of Transportation said it expected up to $223 million in cost overruns on the project.

The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel Commission also recently awarded a $756 million tunnel project to Dragados. The new tunnel will run parallel to an existing one, and Dragados will utilize a TBM on that project as well. Commission officials said that tunneling is a specialty of Dragados and expect construction to begin in 2017.

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Filed Under: Infrastructure
Top image credit: Wikimedia