CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The Flatiron/Dragados precast yard for the Harbor Bridge project is located off County Road 36 and Highway 77, just south of Robstown, Texas. The workers there and at other project sites have to be worried for their jobs -- the company has until Sept. 1 to fix the deficiencies that TxDOT says they found in the bridge design.
Crews at the Robstown precast yard had been busy making 2,600 of the 100-ton, 10-foot wide concrete sections that were going to be needed to build the new Harbor Bridge. That work came to an end on July 15 after TxDOT found supposed problems with the design and ordered them to stop working on the main cable-stayed of the bridge.
3NEWS asked State Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa about the fate of the workers if Flatiron/Dragados defaults. The senator said, "TxDOT is preparing for any type of event that happens, so they are already in the event that Flatiron/Dragados defaults and does not meet the deadline and try to cooperate and work through the concerns that were identified by TxDOT. So they're not wasting time."
A Flatiron/Dragados spokesperson told 3NEWS on Friday that they have done some downsizing because of the design dispute, leaving the company with a little over 300 employees now working on the project. That work will continue until at least Sept. 1 when Flatiron/Dragados is supposed to meet TxDOT’s deadline to straighten out the alleged design problems.
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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