AUSTIN, Texas — Three local lawmakers now have a better idea of the status of the new Harbor Bridge project after the Texas Department of Transportation announced last week that it was suspending all design activities.
In hopes of getting more information, Rep. Todd Hunter hosted TxDOT Executive Director James Bass and staff members from the offices of Rep. Abel Herrero and Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa at Hunter's office at the State Capitol in Austin Monday afternoon.
"We'd like to thank Representative Hunter for hosting this meeting with the local delegation on the very important project of the Harbor Bridge," Bass said.
Bass referred all other questions to Rep. Hunter who was quick to relay what he and the staff members for his fellow lawmakers learned today.
"The Harbor Bridge is very, very important to our area, and we need information," Hunter said.
That information included an update on the integrity of the portions of bridge that have already been built. TxDOT suspended design activities on Thursday, a day after the National Transportation Safety Board released its final report on a deadly bridge collapse in Florida. The NTSB found several design companies liable for the collapse including one company helping to design the new Harbor Bridge.
"Everything to date we're been told is fine," Hunter said. "Good safety. Good construction. But for the construction that has not started yet -- their designs -- (TxDOT is) reviewing that."
TxDOT will review future construction plans for 30 days while construction will continue on designs that have already been approved. Still, there is the potential for another delay in getting the bridge completed.
"There will be a delay," Hunter said. "However nobody knows -- is it going to be how many days or what? We've been assured today that if there is a delay it's not going to be some terrible timeline."
Hunter is also encouraged that TxDOT committed to weekly phone calls with Rep. Herrero, Sen. Hinojosa, and himself to get updates on the project. There will also be a public briefing on the bridge's process sometime after the 30-day review.
TxDOT is also making its public information officer for the Corpus Christ-area more available. If you would like to get a personal update on the status of bridge construction, call 361-808-2544.