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Project Profile: US 181 Harbor Bridge

US 181 Harbor Bridge

Source: Texas Department of Transportation


Corpus Christi, Texas

Project Sponsor / Borrower

Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT)

Program Areas

Alternative Project DeliveryValue Capture


Highway and Bridge


The new US 181 Harbor Bridge will replace the existing Corpus Christi Harbor Bridge connecting downtown Corpus Christi to Rincon Point (North Beach) across the Corpus Christi Ship Channel. The replacement bridge will be on a new location alignment approximately 1,200 feet to the west. The Corpus Christi Ship Channel serves the Port of Corpus Christi, and the new bridge will permit larger (post-Panamax) ships to pass beneath, with a 205-foot clearance compared to the existing 138 feet.

The project includes reconstruction of portions of US 181, I-37 and the Crosstown Expressway (SH 286), including a new interchange at I-37 and the Crosstown Expressway in downtown Corpus Christi that will realign how the bridge connects to these freeway corridors to the south and eliminate existing design deficiencies. The bridge includes six-lane sections of US 181, three lanes in each direction with a median, barrier, shoulders, and a bicycle and pedestrian shared-use path. Additionally, the project includes the reconstruction of approximately 1.6 miles of I-37, reconstruction of approximately one mile of the Crosstown Expressway and demolition of the existing Harbor Bridge. In total, the project includes the development, design, construction and maintenance of 6.44 miles of bridge and connecting roadway, and demolition of the existing Harbor Bridge.

A design-build contract with a 25-year maintenance (O&M) agreement is being used to deliver the $1 billion project using a combination of federal, state, and local funds raised from Transportation Reinvestment Zones (TRZ), a form of tax increment financing.


$1.065 billion (design build contract and NPV O&M agreement)

Funding Sources

Federal funds - $798.8 million

State funds - $202.2 million

Local funds

  • Nueces County and San Patricio County TRZ funding - $39 million
  • ROW and utility donations - $53 million
Project Delivery / Contract Method

Design-build with operation and maintenance contract

Private Partner

Design-builder - Flatiron/Dragados LLC, a joint venture of Flatiron Constructors, Inc. and Dragados USA, Inc.

  • FIGG Bridge Engineers, Inc. - Lead engineer
  • ACS Infrastructure Development, Inc. and DBi Services - Lead maintenance
Project Advisors / Consultants

Not available



Duration / Status

Design-build contract execution in September 2015.

Construction started in summer 2016.

Projected construction complete by late spring 2020.

Demolition of the old bridge will be complete by spring 2021.

Conclusion of the O&M period in 2046.

Financial Status


  • Once complete, the Harbor Bridge will be the longest, cable-stay, concrete-segmental bridge in the United States.
  • The project utilizes a 25-year operation and maintenance contract, a provision TxDOT has recently applied to several design-build contracts to help achieve greater consideration of the facility's long-term maintenance in the developer's design. The developer is responsible for all elements in the right-of-way (with minor exclusions) and must meet handback requirements at the end of the term.
  • State legislative changes introduced in 2013 expanded TRZ options for authorized counties and also authorized port authorities and navigation districts to create TRZs. See: Capturing the Value of Transportation to Finance Transportation: Case Studies from Texas.
Related Links / Articles

Project Website

TxDOT Project Presentation

Project Feasibility and Environmental Review


Joseph Briones, P.E.
Deputy Project Manager
Texas Department of Transportation
Tel: (361) 808-2327

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