LAREDO - On Thursday, Feb. 27, the Texas Transportation Commission approved an agenda item authorizing the first step in the procurement process for construction of the new Corpus Christi Harbor Bridge. By authorizing a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) TxDOT will now be accepting proposals from firms who seek to develop, design, construct, and potentially maintain the new Bridge, estimated at $700 million.

"This is a significant step forward for the progress of the new Harbor Bridge and the Coastal Bend," said Senator Hinojosa. "The day we break ground on this project will go down in the history books as one of the Coastal Bend's greatest days. The jobs that the new Harbor Bridge will attract to the region will further strengthen the region's economic vitality for years to come while the enhanced safety component of the new bridge is one this community needs," Hinojosa added.

With steep vertical grades, dangerous access ramps, sharp curves, a lack of shoulders, and a 28-inch pedestrian foot path, the Harbor Bridge as it now stands poses significant risks to drivers and pedestrians alike.

The route for the new bridge, the "Red Route," best addresses these safety concerns as well as minimizes impacts to the community and environment. The new bridge will include three 12-foot lanes in each direction (more than double the length of the old span) with a median barrier, enhanced shoulders, reduced vertical grades, and a pedestrian and bicycle path at least 8-feet wide. The bridge will also feature a 205 foot vertical air clearance, opening the door to larger vessels and increased economic activity to the region.

During the 2013 Legislative Session, Senate Bill 1730 authorized TxDOT to enter into a comprehensive development agreement for the US 181 Harbor Bridge project in Nueces County. The development and completion of the Harbor Bridge project can be expedited through the use of a public-private partnership agreement, and the employment of innovative methods for the development and financing of projects that are available to a public-private partnership agreement.