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Officials say current Harbor Bridge is safe to drive on, inspection expected later this month

TxDOT officials said the current Harbor Bridge continues to be maintained and inspected. In fact, crews are scheduled to sandblast and paint the bridge this fall.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — With the future of the new Harbor Bridge uncertain, some Corpus Christi residents have expressed concerns about the current Harbor Bridge and whether it is safe to use.

The current Harbor Bridge was built back in 1959. At the time it was the largest project of its kind in the state's history. The bridge was supposed to already be retired by now and in the process of being demolished.

However, engineering problems with the replacement bridge are forcing TxDOT to keep it in service longer than expected.

RELATED: New Harbor Bridge at risk of 'collapse' under current design, TxDOT says

3NEWS asked State Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa whether there are any safety concerns with the current Harbor Bridge.

"The Harbor Bridge as it exists right now is safe to drive on," Hinojosa said. "It's outdated, yes. That's why we're going to replace it, but at the same time there's no initial dangers or risk to the general public using the present Harbor Bridge."

RELATED: If you use the word 'collapse,' public deserves full transparency, lawmakers say

TxDOT spokesperson Rickey Dailey told 3NEWS that it is not unusual for bridges to be used past their expected retirement date. He also said the current Harbor Bridge continues to be maintained and inspected. In fact, crews are scheduled to sandblast and paint the bridge this coming fall.

Hinojosa believes the State is keeping the bridge in good shape.

"It has yearly maintenance and any other problems that are discovered, they are addressed immediately by TxDOT," Hinojosa said.

3NEWS was told that the last inspection of the Harbor Bridge took place in April of last year. The next inspection is going to happen later this month.

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