The lights on Corpus Christi’s Harbor Bridge could soon be taken down

The Harbor Bridge’s decorative lighting system could soon be taken down. 

Lighting parts have detached and fallen from the bridge due to corrosion of its metal brackets, City Manager Peter Zanoni said. The brackets’ useful life was five years. The system has now been up for more than 10 years. 

Last week, light strips were starting to detach from the side of the bridge on two occasions, he said. 

“They haven’t (fallen), but they’re prone to fall,” Zanoni said. “One of them was held on by a wire or something like that.”

“There’s numerous spots of failure in the bracket system.”

City staff is recommending the City Council approve an agreement for $448,725 with LaPorte-based Pfeiffer & Son, LTD to remove the lights, according to an agenda memo for council’s regular meeting Tuesday. 

The project would take about 10 weeks.

In December, the council approved having the company inspect the lighting and secure or remove any pieces that could fall off. 

Pfeiffer & Son found the system’s metal mounting brackets, which are encased in plastic pipes, are “severely corroded and unstable” and “can break at anytime,” according to the memo.

Corpus Christi residents were treated to a sneak preview of the new lights along the Harbor Bridge as the city tested the lights in preparation of Sunday, Dec 4, 2012 official unveiling of a new lighting system. The programmable $2.2 million lighting system, which includes 950 LED lights will cover the bridge in a array of colors and patterns.

The company installed the lights in 2010. At the time, the city chose not to follow a recommendation to install stainless steel brackets. 

The council could choose to spend roughly $850,000 for the company to fix the system, instead of removing the lights. Pfeiffer & Son would replace the corroded mounting brackets with stainless steel ones and repair some of the lighting over a period of 16 weeks, according to the memo. 

Nearly a fourth of the lights are broken, Zanoni said. 

“We have so much need, it would be a bad investment to do that,” Zanoni said. “We’ve grown to enjoy those lights, but from a financial standpoint, we think this is the best option.”

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