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Beltway 8 / Ship Channel Bridge Replacement

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I'm aware of the age of the bridge, as I grew up in this part of town. I just assumed the 610 Ship Channel Bridge would have taken precedence over this, as it is much older and need of replacement. While the new bridge rendering looks great it sounds like an unnecessary waste of money.

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I was forwarded this in an e-mail from an exclusive source.  :ph34r:

 

They could easily built an identical bridge right next to it to double capacity, but my source was concerned about lack of shoulders. I guess they'll be doing an interchange at 225?


@intencity77,

 

The bridge was built in 1982--it's 33 years old. Although it did hold up well, isn't it time for an upgrade? Here's a pic I found:

 

11855870_492711274219573_138334623391643

 

SOURCE: https://www.facebook.com/DeerParkTX.ED

LOL Fred Hartmann 1.5

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I wonder if the interior of the box girders is starting to degrade, given the relatively harsh environment surrounding the bridge.

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can we get it built with Carnegie Steel this time? The Eads bridge was built in 1874, carried at least one elephant and is still in use today.

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can we get it built with Carnegie Steel this time? The Eads bridge was built in 1874, carried at least one elephant and is still in use today.

 

They tended to overengineer bridges quite a bit in those days, for a variety of reasons - labor was much cheaper, math was still done on paper, material strength coefficients weren't well known, etc.

 

Thirty years ago, engineering would have been done to a fairly precise estimation of loads. That's what leads me to believe that there's structural degradation - otherwise, what's the point of spending that much more on a double replacement?

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33 years (OK, 40 or so by the time the replacement is there) is likely less than what the specified design life was when built.  On the other hand, that bridge isn't quite the thrill that the Huey P. Long outside of New Orleans was before it was widened, but it's close.  

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I heard that the reason why the bridge is being replaced isn't neccessarily that its past its life, but that it limits the flow of ship channel traffic to between the bridge pillons.

IDK if that's completely. However, when you consider the potential catastophree of a significant ship hitting them (considering the ship AND car traffic) there is no reason to keep this bridge in service IMO.

A suspension bridge is a far better dresign from a safety aspect. It should be a far better design from a traffic flow aspect as well when you consider the increased lanes AND what should be a less steep grade.

Lots of congestion is created at the current bridge becasue the climb is so steep and traffic slows down considerably because of that.

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I heard that the reason why the bridge is being replaced isn't neccessarily that its past its life, but that it limits the flow of ship channel traffic to between the bridge pillons.

IDK if that's completely. However, when you consider the potential catastophree of a significant ship hitting them (considering the ship AND car traffic) there is no reason to keep this bridge in service IMO.

A suspension bridge is a far better dresign from a safety aspect. It should be a far better design from a traffic flow aspect as well when you consider the increased lanes AND what should be a less steep grade.

Lots of congestion is created at the current bridge becasue the climb is so steep and traffic slows down considerably because of that.

 

I'm guessing this has to do with New Panamax traffic. Are there any Ship Channel dredging projects in the near future?

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The new Panamax ships can't fit into the ship channel fully loaded. It would take an enormous amount of money to fully dredge out the ship channel enough to let them in

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ADCS - The Port of Houston does not have a specific timeline on widening or increasing the depth of the Ship Channel, in this location, at the moment.  But, widening is part of the long term plan.  The Ship Channel is generally quite narrow and relatively treacherous.   But, I believe that you are correct about New Panamax Traffic.  There is expected to be a very large increase in Container traffic in the port and, in turn, on the roads.  This bridge does serve as a direct link to I-10 West from Barbours Cut and Bayport Container Terminals.  For heavy traffic, and trucks, the bridge does seem to be less than optimal. 

post-11710-0-41968000-1443799084_thumb.j

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ADCS - The Port of Houston does not have a specific timeline on widening or increasing the depth of the Ship Channel, in this location, at the moment.  But, widening is part of the long term plan.  The Ship Channel is generally quite narrow and relatively treacherous.   But, I believe that you are correct about New Panamax Traffic.  There is expected to be a very large increase in Container traffic in the port and, in turn, on the roads.  This bridge does serve as a direct link to I-10 West from Barbours Cut and Bayport Container Terminals.  For heavy traffic, and trucks, the bridge does seem to be less than optimal. 

 

I can't imagine they'll put a container port inland of Barbours Cut/Bayport, but I can easily imagine larger petroleum tankers going to the West Coast that would take advantage of a wider and deeper channel.

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The Panamax ships don't have to come inland through the ship channel, they all offload at Barbours Cut/Morgans Point.

Also, being in the industry, and as someone who frequently drives 18 wheelers fully loaded with up to 70,000 lbs of crane counterweights up and down this bridge, I am in FULL support of replacing it with a wider, Fred Hartman style bridge.

That thing is a death trap and a nightmare to drive over in a haul truck, with all the little four wheelers constantly cutting in and around you because you're going too slow. The grade is so steep I almost come to a stop trying to get to the peak.

My worst nightmare is that one day my brakes will give, or a tranny will blow right before I hit the peak, and I will come flyin down the ramp in reverse, plowing through anything and everyone in my path.

Edited by Howard Huge
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ADCS - The Port of Houston does not have a specific timeline on widening or increasing the depth of the Ship Channel, in this location, at the moment.  But, widening is part of the long term plan.  The Ship Channel is generally quite narrow and relatively treacherous.   But, I believe that you are correct about New Panamax Traffic.  There is expected to be a very large increase in Container traffic in the port and, in turn, on the roads.  This bridge does serve as a direct link to I-10 West from Barbours Cut and Bayport Container Terminals.  For heavy traffic, and trucks, the bridge does seem to be less than optimal. 

 

That bridge is seemingly narrow for 1982 standards. I've seen bridges from the 70s that are wider and have full shoulders (cough cough, 610, cough cough), but Interstate design standards are different. I think I read somewhere that the current bridge is so narrow because it was originally planned to be a NB or SB only structure, but it would serve both NB and SB traffic until a twin structure could be built.

Edited by JLWM8609

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That bridge is seemingly narrow for 1982 standards. I've seen bridges from the 70s that are wider and have full shoulders (cough cough, 610, cough cough), but Interstate design standards are different. I think I read somewhere that the current bridge is so narrow because it was originally planned to be a NB or SB only structure, but it would serve both NB and SB traffic until a twin structure could be built.

North of Jacintoport, the freeway pavement ends and squeezes into the right side.

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The Panamax ships don't have to come inland through the ship channel, they all offload at Barbours Cut/Morgans Point.

Also, being in the industry, and as someone who frequently drives 18 wheelers fully loaded with up to 70,000 lbs of crane counterweights up and down this bridge, I am in FULL support of replacing it with a wider, Fred Hartman style bridge.

That thing is a death trap and a nightmare to drive over in a haul truck, with all the little four wheelers constantly cutting in and around you because you're going too slow. The grade is so steep I almost come to a stop trying to get to the peak.

My worst nightmare is that one day my brakes will give, or a tranny will blow right before I hit the peak, and I will come flyin down the ramp in reverse, plowing through anything and everyone in my path.

 

I couldn't imagine. I pulled a double axle trailer over this bridge in a pick-up truck one rainy night and thought I was surely gonna die.

 

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CHARACTER OF WORK: The HCTRA proposes a replacement bridge project along Beltway 8 to improve the north-south transportation link between Interstate Highway 10 (IH 10) and State Highway 225 (SH 225) in Houston, Harris County, Texas and remove the existing bridge. By removing the existing bridge and constructing new a bridge along this segment of the Sam Houston Tollway East (SHTE) corridor, the HCTRA aims to improve safety by upgrading roadway design to current Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) design standards, improving mobility within the corridor to accommodate current and future traffic demands, and completing the SHTE system initiative. The SHTE system initiative involves construction of a corridor that is consistent with other segments of the SHTE system to the north and south of the project areas.

 

Man, I know the name fits for the area, but the acronym for Sam Houston Tollway East could use a bit of work.

 

I did laugh like a 12 year-old reading every mention of the SHT-E system. :lol:

Edited by BigFootsSocks
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Aye, but that's a Scania* lion on the side

 

*what survives of SAAB

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Aye, but that's a Scania* lion on the side

 

*what survives of SAAB

 

Yeah, several years ago when Porsche was buying up VW shares as part of its abortive takeover attempt, it had to also make an offer to buy Scania as a result of its increased stake in VW, who was (and still is) the majority stakeholder in Scania. 

 

Someone obviously decided to have some fun with Photoshop as a result, but I like to think of it as a natural outgrowth of the Cayenne Turbo, only bigger.

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Are bridges designed to last 35 years?

If so, I am surprised and scare to death to drive around much of the rest of the country (and the metroplex) that has bridges much older than this.

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Are bridges designed to last 35 years?

If so, I am surprised and scare to death to drive around much of the rest of the country (and the metroplex) that has bridges much older than this.

 

There's no reason to be scared of a bridge based by age alone. An old, but well-maintained bridge is safer than a new but shoddily built bridge

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There's no reason to be scared of a bridge based by age alone. An old, but well-maintained bridge is safer than a new but shoddily built bridge

 

Looking at it a little more closely, it's more of a capacity issue than anything. The current bridge is 48 feet wide, which means you'd only be able to fit in three 12 foot lanes with six foot shoulders for one-way traffic. The new bridges will be 70 feet wide, meeting interstate standards with 12 foot travel lanes and 10 foot shoulders.

Edited by ADCS
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Wow, I thought I'd read it would be a copy of the existing bridge.  This looks great, and it gets the supports out of the water.  Good compliment to Fred Hartman.

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Maybe the "Transportation" subforum would be better, but this looks like something of a landmark in the making. If growth projections are to be believed, we're going to need it.

 

Although, one quote caught my eye...

 

Quote

Driving along the roadway you will see a beautiful cable-stayed bridge with towers over 500 feet tall, providing aesthetic lighting at night for a completely immersive experience.

 

There's a body of water down there, you know...

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I remember when a company I used to work for was part of a bid package for this project. They were a subcontractor to a larger firm. They won the project but the Harris County stepped in and asked each company on the bid for donations and those that didn't, like the company I worked for, were kicked off the bid. 

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2 hours ago, Nate99 said:

Maybe the "Transportation" subforum would be better, but this looks like something of a landmark in the making. If growth projections are to be believed, we're going to need it.

 

Although, one quote caught my eye...

 

 

There's a body of water down there, you know...

 

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11 hours ago, Dakota79 said:

This may not be the right place for this, but how nice to have a bridge with design elements. It should be able to be seen from near downtown. 

 

Yes, it should.  Given a clear enough view, you can see the Hartman bridge from downtown - which is several miles further away. 

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6 hours ago, thatguysly said:

I remember when a company I used to work for was part of a bid package for this project. They were a subcontractor to a larger firm. They won the project but the Harris County stepped in and asked each company on the bid for donations and those that didn't, like the company I worked for, were kicked off the bid. 

 

If true, shouldn't that information be shared with the district attorney?

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Company blamed for Miami bridge collapse working on Ship Channel bridge project

 

Quote

An independent review of the design of a bridge being built across the Houston Ship Channel on Sam Houston Tollway is underway. The review follows a national report chiefly blaming the bridge’s designer for a fatal bridge collapse near Miami, officials in Harris County said Thursday.

 

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On 12/7/2019 at 6:20 PM, BeerNut said:

 

An understandable knee jerk reaction, however, these bridges, though they are both cable stay, are completely different in design and construction. Plus the bridge that is being constructed right now has already successfully been constructed numerous times, and its why FIGG got the job in the first place. Again. I get it. Got to cover all bases and all a$$es, but I think this is much ado about nothing. My guess is that their over experience in road bridge design made then greatly underestimate the needs for a pedestrian bridge design, but they have a stellar track record with road bridge design.

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That same company is working on the $1B New Harbor Bridge project down in Corpus Christi. They just halted the project for the same reason. 

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Engineers raise ‘significant concerns’ over design of $1 billion Ship Channel Bridge

Quote

Designers of the $1 billion Ship Channel Bridge project made faulty assumptions about the soil around the bridge’s critical supports above and below ground, did not properly account for winds on the stability of the supports and failed to factor in the weight of two-way traffic on the southbound span while the northbound structure is built, according to engineers hired by the county to review the plan.

 

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