CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The deadline for Flatiron Dragados, the Harbor Bridge Project developer, has come and gone to present the Texas Department of Transportation their plans to move forward. They had until Thursday to present an updated design for the main cable-stayed portion of the new bridge or be fired from the project.
TxDOT gave the Metropolitan Planning Organization an update on the situation Thursday afternoon. Officials from TxDOT said this week, Flatiron Dragados gave proposed solutions to the issues TxDOT had with the bridge design, but those solutions are currently being reviewed.
"The next step is to continue this correspondence and make sure the communications move quickly," said Valente Olivarez Jr. who is a district engineer with TxDOT.
TxDOT said Flatiron Dragados is still under a notice of default until the solutions are reviewed and they figure out how to move forward.
"It certainly seems it's moving in the right direction and I would be very glad to know we could see a resolution in the next 30 days," said Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales.
"Number one is safety, number two is making certain we do not incur cost. The tax payer does not get this thrown on them because its not their fault."
That was affirmed with a letter from the Texas Transportation Commission read during Thursday's meeting. The letter stated that no local government agencies like the city or county would see any additional costs because of changes or delays with the project.
Watch the meeting in full in the player below.
Work on the mainstay portion of the bridge, the part that goes over the Corpus Christi Ship Channel, was halted by TxDOT on July 15 over safety concerns. Those concerns included design flaws so significant TxDOT said the "bridge would collapse under certain load conditions" should Flatiron Dragados finish the project as is.
On August 16, TxDOT held a news conference issuing a "notice of default," giving the developer 15 days to present a plan to correct the identified safety deficiencies.
Safety and transparency are the main concerns from city, county and state leaders as the Harbor Bridge Project remains stalled.
"Our elected officials are united in our belief that the safety of this project is our single most important and overriding concern," Corpus Christi Mayor Paulette Guajardo said in a previous news conference about the project delays. "There is nothing more important than public safety."
Corpus Christi City Manager Peter Zanoni is also worried about the project and the potential that work could stop completely.
"One of my biggest concerns is the construction site, especially on North Beach, and I’ve already voiced that concern with TxDOT. In fact even before the press event that we had, to say, 'Look, if there’s a big delay we want some permanent temporary structures placed around the construction site. We need better roads, better lighting, and if it’s going to be a big delay what is temporary needs to become more permanent.'”
3NEWS asked TxDOT officials what is going to happen with all of the employees on the Harbor Bridge project if it is completely stopped come Sept. 1. TxDOT responded with the following statement:
TxDOT can’t answer or speculate on what steps Flatiron/Dragados might take with their employees in a scenario where Flatiron/Dragados fails to perform.
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