CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The Port of Corpus Christi sits in between the current Harbor Bridge and the new bridge physically. It’s also kind of a metaphor that they are currently stuck in the middle.
With the news of the new Harbor Bridge being delayed as we await a decision on the contractor, how has the project affected the Port?
“We know it’s going to have an adverse affect on some of the big plans that we have at the Port of Corpus Christi," said Charles Zahn, chairman of the Port Commission.
Zahn and Port Chief Executive Officer Sean Strawbridge both said construction from the project has slightly impacted their business.
For example, Strawbridge said they’ve had to redirect ships in the Joe Fulton Corridor.
“Certainly, there’s been disruptions in our business," said Strawbridge. "There’s also new business that we can’t attract until that bridge is completed. And, even though we’re having a great year, yet again, there are some additional opportunities that we’d like to pursue when that new bridge is completed.”
“We have 100,000 people that work directly, indirectly with the Port of Corpus Christi. So, we have good jobs in the Coastal Bend. And, these good jobs depend on us continuing to attract business,” said Zahn at a press conference of city, county and state leaders on Wednesday.
Texas Sen. John Cornyn visited the Port on Wednesday. Familiar with the situation, he agrees with the Texas Department of Transportation that safety has to be a priority.
“I would say safety is job number one. That’s a non-negotiable red line. And, I know that’s been the focus of all the folks here in Corpus Christi to make sure safety comes first,” he said.
Zahn and Strawbridge shared similar sentiments.
Strawbridge added it’s hard to ignore the impact construction has had on surrounding communities, with how long the project is taking.
“This has taken way too long," said Strawbridge. "And, it is certainly a tax on this local community when you look at all the disruptions in traffic patterns.”
TxDOT has given their contractor Flatiron/Dragados LLC 15 days from Aug. 16, to provide a plan on how to address the safety concerns given to them.
If Flatiron/Dragados fails to do so, they will be replaced. An expedited process to find a new developer would begin.