Harris County Toll Road Authority (HCTRA) said that it will temporarily pause construction on the main pylons of the cable-stayed portion of the Sam Houston Tollway Ship Channel Bridge replacement project from Saturday 11 January. The pause is to continue the review of the engineering design of a section currently under construction. There is a design issue with the pylon legs that needs to be addressed before construction can resume.

Work will progress on the rest of the project, including the approaches and casting yard, while the pylon work is paused on the bridge, which will have a 402m-long main span.

Sam Houston Tollway Bridge

“While HCTRA is confident in the process and teams developing the project, the agency hired an independent consultant - Cowi North America, Inc - to conduct a complete independent review of the Ship Channel Bridge engineering design performed by Figg Bridge Engineers, Inc,” said a statement this week from HCTRA.

Harris County Commissioners Court approved the engineering services agreement with Cowi in March 2019 and Cowi’s full independent review of the project is anticipated to be complete by March 2020.

“In the meantime, the consultant has identified an issue related to the design of the curved portions of the pylon legs, and briefly pausing construction will allow for the engineer of record (Figg) to design a solution, to be reviewed by Cowi, and incorporated into construction before the work progresses,” said HCTRA. “When the engineer of record and the independent consultant reach concurrence on necessary design solution, work will resume on the pylons. It is anticipated that this could take approximately three weeks.”

Sam Houston Tollway Bridge

In 2012, a request for qualifications was issued for project teams to design the section of the tollway between SH 255 and IH 10. From this process, a team was selected that included Figg Bridge Engineers providing the long-span bridge design. The project was bid and construction was awarded to Ship Channel Constructors, a joint venture between Traylor Brothers and Zachry Construction. Their team includes TY Lin International Group to provide construction engineering. The county selected HNTB to provide construction management for the project.