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Major Aspects Of Corpus Christi Bridge Project Will Be Detailed In Fall Plan

Artist rendering of how the bridge would appear above Whataburger Field, home of the Corpus Christi Hooks minor league baseball team.
Artist rendering of how the bridge would appear above Whataburger Field, home of the Corpus Christi Hooks minor league baseball team.

The Texas Department of Transportation reported that cost and completion estimates on the new Corpus Christi Harbor Bridge will become more clear in a few months.

A new engineer on the project is expected to present a design plan for the main spans of the bridge this fall, providing a better picture of when the huge project will he completed and how much it will cost.

Previous estimates were around $800 million, but that figure could change with the new design plans.

Work began on the bridge nearly six years ago, and there have been delays, but TxDOT spokesman Rickey Dailey said progress is being made.

"The new bridge will still have three lanes in both directions, but the safety feature that has been added is that there will be inside and outside shoulders. Right now if we have a crash on the current harbor bridge, which is two lanes with no shoulders, it jams up traffic," said Dailey.

He said only about half the work involved is the actual bridge. Bridge approach roads and beams are going up, and a new interchange is being constructed for I-37, U.S. 181 and U.S. 286.

Motorists will have unobstructed bay views to the east and west. The bridge will be walkable and sittable. Its 500-foot-tall pylons will be among the tallest objects in South Texas. It will also be the longest cable stay bridge in the U.S.

The old harbor bridge — an icon of Corpus Christi — has been in use since 1959. It's known for its colorful lights.

Dailey said the new bridge will have built in lights.

"We'll have lights on the harbor bridge, they'll be LED lights. They'll be colorful, you can change the design," he said.

Dailey said residents definitely let transportation officials know lighting the bridge should be a top priority in keeping with the tradition.

Attached lighting on the old Harbor Bridge had corroded and was falling onto the roadway, so the city decided to remove those lights.

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Brian Kirkpatrick has been a journalist in Texas most of his life, covering San Antonio news since 1993, including the deadly October 1998 flooding, the arrival of the Toyota plant in 2003, and the base closure and realignments in 2005.