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Residents react to Harbor Bridge delay

Posted at 9:31 PM, Jan 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-11 23:02:21-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — It looks like there are more delays in store for the new Harbor Bridge.

On Friday, Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) officially removed the new bridge's designer, FIGG Engineering, from the project.

TxDOT suspended design activities last November after the National Transportation Safety Board found the firm responsible for a 2018 fatal pedestrian bridge collapse at Flordia International University.

Mayor Joe McComb calls the situation "unfortunate".

"FIGG has a good reputation, but evidently there was an error made that (TXDOT) felt like they needed to move on to get somebody else, a new set of eyes on the plans, and to review everything that's been done." McComb said.

A statement from FIGG says the firm was shocked to learn it was removed from the project.

Meanwhile, people in the project's path have more questions than answers.

Britt Murray has watched the new harbor bridge construction from his front porch in North Beach.

"It would shake the houses. They started every morning, including Saturday and your body would be shaking." Murray said. "So I wouldn't want to have that again, hopefully."

While he's nervous that work may have to be redone, his main concern is safety.

"If it's gonna be right and it's gonna save lives, well who cares how long it takes, right?"

Across the channel from Murray, the Chavaria's have owned their home for almost 20 years.

They say it used to be a quiet neighborhood.

"I understand they gotta make noise, of course because they gotta work." Chavaria said. "So i just hope they finish it and no more damage to my house, that's all."

"They're the ones that made the decision and now we have to hear it take longer or whatever."

And for others, their concern is the traffic.

I spoke with some business owners, who say the delayed project means continued detours... making it difficult for people to get to their businesses.

meanwhile other business owners say they're just hopeful construction work won't slow down in the area.

The general manager at Yo Philly Cheese Steaks and Subs says the workers helped to keep their business afloat during the winter season.

"It's affected us in a positive way, there's a lot of workers coming in." Matthew Quintana said. "But now I'm hearing the news that it's going to be closing down for a little bit we're gonna see what happens you know? it's just a wait and see kind of thing."

According to the statement sent by TxDOT on Friday, a replacement design firm will be hired, and will review the current design for the main spans of the bridge.

"You gotta make amends for what you did wrong, TxDOT, and you gotta do it right this time." Murray said. "Don't pick the cheapest, don't go with the simplest. Just do it right. Whatever it takes."

When the project was first proposed in August of 2016, it was supposed to be finished at the end of this year.

But since the new Harbor Bridge is now on hold, no new construction completion date has been released.