For more than 50 years, the Iconic Harbor Bridge has decorated the Corpus Christi skyline and on August 8th, 2016 a ceremony was held for the marked beginning of construction of the new replacement Harbour Bridge.
Approximately five-hundred people, including several dignitaries, come out for the historic and ground-breaking ceremony. These dignitaries have demonstrated a great amount of excitement, praising the new Harbour Bridge project.
Since being hospitalized for severe burns last month, Texas Governor Greg Abbott decided to make his first public appearance at the event. As stated by Governor Abbott, “The new bridge will do so much more than help people get from one side of the bay to the other. This will transport this entire region… to a more prosperous era”.
The 1959 bridge had cost a total of $11 million to build, which is the equivalent of $90 million today. The new replacement bridge, set to be complete in 2021 on the other hand, is projected to cost $930 million dollars.
With six lanes, new shoulders on the road and the inclusion of pedestrian and bike paths, the new bridge will mean easier transportation for residents.
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, it was determined that the current bridge needed to be replaced as it was requiring millions of dollars in maintenance due to corrosion. In order to eliminate this problem, the new bridge will be constructed out of concrete.
“This will be as far as the main span, the longest concrete cable-stay bridge in the United States”, stated Valente Olivarez Jt., Corpus Christi Deputy District Engineer.
Not only will this new bridge allow for easier residential transportation, it will also allow for more trade for the Port of Corpus Christi. By increasing the clearance height to 205 feet over the ship canal, larger ships will be able to enter into the port.
“It will provide so much more clearance for the vessels that we’ll see over the next decades to come”, said Sean Strawbridge, Chief Operating Officer of the Port of Corpus Christi. He further stated, “Vessels that are going to be as long as the Empire State building … will be able to carry more barrels of oil than we can consume in this nation in half a day… this bridge will be able to allow those larger vessel to be entered into the Port of Corpus Christi”.
US Senator John Cornyn chimed in, stating, “This is a great development for the region, and Corpus Christi, and Texas, and really the country”. He goes on to say, “With this new bridge this is invitation to not only more trade but more jobs and a better and brighter economy and an opportunity for all”.
Though the replacement of the current iconic Harbour Bridge that was completed in 1959 is bitter-sweet to long-term residents, it also marks the beginning of rejuvenation for Corpus Christi and the Port. As stated by James Macklemore, an engineer and long-term resident of the community, “Times have changed, but what a big improvement this is going to be”.