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Infrastructure: Corpus Christi

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Corpus Christi Ground Breaking for New Harbor Bridge

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaking at the ground breaking for the new Corpus Christi Harbor Bridge, with the current bridge in the background
Photo/Port Corpus Christi

Construction officially began on the new Corpus Christi Harbor Bridge with a ground breaking August within the shadow of the structure it will be replacing.

"I would like to congratulate TXDOT, the City of Corpus Christi and the Port of Corpus Christi On this achievement," said Governor Greg Abbott. "Today’s groundbreaking marks an important step in Texas’ goal of creating a 21st century infrastructure system that gives us an advantage on our global competitors. As one of the largest bridge projects in Texas history, the Corpus Christi harbor bridge will lead to an expansion in commerce, ultimately creating more jobs and enhancing Texas’ standing as an economic powerhouse."

Built in 1959, the existing steel-coated, six-lane bridge has no shoulders. Its 138-foot clearance effectively bars entry by to neo-Panamax size vessels.  

The six-lane U.S. 181 Harbor Bridge replacement will provide a clearance of 205 feet over the Corpus Christi ship channel, allowing access to the port’s Inner Harbor area by some of the world’s largest ships. The new bridge will have a main span of 1,655 feet and extend across the entire width of the ship channel. Its two main towers will be 538 feet tall.

When completed, the harbor bridge will have the longest precast concrete cable-stayed span in the United States. The precast option allows the ship channel remain open to ship traffic while the new bridge is under construction. It also provides greater durability over the existing steel structure in the corrosive coastal climate.

A full-length pedestrian walkway and inside and outside shoulders will assist in hurricane evacuation and make the new bridge safer and more secure than the old one.

Funding for the estimated $930 million project is coming from Port Corpus Christi, Nueces and San Patricio counties, and various state and federal sources. The deal includes a 25-year maintenance agreement with the developer.

The bridge project also includes construction of a new interchange at I-37, U.S. 181 and SH 286 (crosstown), reconstruction of about 1.6 miles of I-37, reconstruction of about 1 mile of SH 286 and demolition of the existing bridge. Estimated project completion is 2021.

View illustrations and a more detailed description of the harbor bridge project.

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