- The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) announced Friday that it has asked Flatiron-Dragados LLC, the joint venture behind the $800 million U.S. 181 Harbor Bridge Replacement Project in Corpus Christi, Texas, to replace FIGG Bridge Engineers (FIGG) as designer of the bridge's main spans, which are included in the cable-supported section of the bridge that will cross the Corpus Christi Ship Channel.
- After review of the National Transportation Safety Board's investigation, which found FIGG's design was to blame for the March 2018 bridge collapse at Florida International University in Miami, the TxDOT stopped construction of the bridge in November. TxDOT now says it is of the opinion that the findings "were significant enough" to warrant the engineering firm's replacement.
- “FIGG was shocked by Texas Department of Transportation’s press release concerning FIGG’s design role on the cable-stayed main span and relating this to the construction accident on a pedestrian bridge in Miami," the company said in a statement to Construction Dive.
It's not just this FIGG-designed bridge that a Texas authority has halted. The Harris County Toll Road Authority stopped construction Saturday on the main pylons of the cable-stayed segment of the $962 million Sam Houston Tollway Ship Channel Bridge replacement project in order to allow FIGG to submit an acceptable redesign, which will be reviewed and approved by an independent engineering firm before work continues.
In its comments about the Corpus Christi project, FIGG took another opportunity to dispute the NTSB's findings.
"FIGG engaged Wiss, Janney, Elstner Assoc. Inc. (WJE), the preeminent forensic engineer in the nation, to review the Florida accident," FIGG said. "WJE’s detailed research, in-depth analysis, and physical testing shows that faulty construction of the Florida bridge — which FIGG had no hand in — was to blame for the collapse, not its design.”
There is no word yet as to who will be FIGG's replacement or how the shift will impact the project's timeline or budget, but, according to the TxDOT, the new firm will review and recertify the existing design.
The current Harbor Bridge design, at 1,661 feet in length, would be the longest cable-stayed bridge in the U.S., according to TxDOT. The bridge tower's height of 538 feet will make it the tallest structure in southern Texas.
FIGG is currently certified by the TxDOT in several areas including bridge design, complex bridge inspection and bridge construction management. FIGG's Texas bridge projects include the Houston Ship Channel Bridge and the Veterans Memorial Bridge in Port Arthur, Texas.