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Condition of city bridges under review following Yorktown 'mud bridge' repairs

City leaders are in the process of developing a program to make sure maintenance of city bridges is done routinely.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The condition of the Yorktown mud bridge brings into question the safety and maintenance of other bridges throughout Corpus Christi.

Wednesday it was learned that as soon as the incident happened the city's storm water department expedited the review of the condition of the other 67 bridges within the city.

While TxDOT is responsible for inspecting the bridges, it is ultimately the city's responsibility to make any repairs and maintain them.

"The statement was, the fact that nobody was looking at bridges, that's an issue isn't it? Yes it is," said Corpus Christi City Manager Peter Zanoni as he took questions during a press conference about the mud bridge.

Zanoni is talking about the lack of maintenance of city-owned bridges saying erasing decades of neglect will take time.

"So that what we see today doesn't happen again," Zanoni said.

It is a problem that could've been prevented years ago if the city had someone to better over-see maintenance. The public works department wasn't re-structured until just about three years ago. 

"For the eighth  largest city in Texas that is surrounded by water, more than ever it's an issue. That is why we created the public works department, that is why we worked hard to get city council choices and options to create an independent storm water fee that funds bridges and storm water systems."

Zanoni said the city has 67 other bridges.

While TxDOT inspects the bridges, Corpus Christi Public Works Director Ernesto De La Garza said the city is responsible to oversee any work to maintain any dilapidated bridges.

"From what I have reviewed we don't have anything like that at the city where TxDOT has raised an alarm to say this bridge needs to be closed immediately as a result of any inspection we have," said De La Garza.

He added that the city is still in the process of that review.

" Even if we look at these inspection reports and they speak to bridge lingo, we have to have the understanding on our side, which no body has that expertise. "

The city is searching to bring on board an engineering consultant to help make these types of decisions.

Leaders also hope to develop a program that will make sure maintenance is done routinely.

"There is maintenance that should be taking place that probably has not been taking place to slow the aging or progression of a bridge," said De La Garza.

The first program will likely come with the 2024 city budget.

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