Posted: Dec 4, 2012 9:10 PM by Melissa Schroeder - email@example.com
Updated: Dec 4, 2012 11:15 PM
CORPUS CHRISTI -- The Texas Department of Transportation met with folks about the future of the Harbor Bridge tonight.
They looked at four potential designs.
Dozens of people packed the Ortiz Center to hear about the progress on the Harbor Bridge replacement project.
It's a project expected to cost between $500 to $800 million.
And right now, TX-DOT only has about $300 million in state and federal funding.
The rest of the money is expected to come from tax dollars.
But in what form, isn't known yet.
And before construction begins in 2017, all the money must be secured first.
The reporter asked, "Do you think this will happen in time?"
TX-DOT Project Development Engineer Victor Vourcos said, "I feel confident that we will get there but it relies on people well above my pay grade, administration, our district engineer and local leaders, especially."
People we talked to -- in the crowd -- say they would be willing to pay extra tax dollars to fund a new Harbor Bridge because in the long run, they feel it's worth it.
Alan Albin said, "I think it's underestimated how iconic the current bridge is with it's lighting on it. People see that and appreciate it and they think of Corpus Christi."
Jean Honeycutt said, "My husband said it, we may not see it in our lifetime and it doesn't matter. It's something you have to plan for and prepare for."
TX-DOT says if the money isn't ready by 2017, they'll have to continue maintaining the current bridge that's been around for more than 50 years.
But, engineers say that's expensive and just not practical...because eventually they would have to shut down the bridge for awhile to do major repairs.
Engineers are drafting an environmental impact study that should be finished by next year.
A public hearing on the bridge replacement project is planned for the end of 2013.
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