By CINDY STURLIN
Editor’s Note: Following is the response letter from Leo DeVigil, General Manager for the LIOA swing bridge, for TXDOT’s questions as to repairs that have occurred since they reviewed the engineering report in 2004.
The Long Island Swing Bridge has been in operation since the early 1950s and was turned over to Long Island Owners Association (LIOA) in the mid-1970s. At that time, the LIOA secured insurance for operation and maintenance of the facility. The insurance company requires periodic inspections of the facility by a professional engineering company. During the ensuing years, TXDOT reviewed an inspection report conducted by Goldstone Engineering Inc. dated 2004. Within that report, there were structural issues that needed to be addressed. Below are the issues and how they were addressed.
Subsequent to the 2004 inspection there have been inspections every five years. Also listed below are issues noted from those subsequent inspections that have received repair.
1. Pan Girders in poor condition: The worst of the damage to pan girders was repaired sometime in 2014. The damage that was left for another round of repairs is being addressed in Late September 2023.
2. Concrete Caps in poor condition: The worst of the damage to concrete caps was repaired in 2014. The minor cracks remaining will be addressed in late September 2023.
3. Concrete Piles in fair condition: No action to repair pilings was taken until 2020. At that time, it was determined that wrapping the pilings was the best way to preserve their integrity. Work was completed in 2020.
4. Bulkheads Cracking: Inspection revealed many bulkheads in fair condition with moderate cracks. These conditions have been continuously repaired as conditions warrant. Due to tidal erosion, the bulkheads are a continuous project.
5. Pontoon (Floating Bridge): The 2004 report does not address the pontoon. In 2014, a major project to fill the vessel with foam was completed. The estimated life span of the foam is 20 years. This estimate does not imply the metal structure will last any given amount of time. It is estimated that the entire structure would be ready for replacement at the end of estimated foam life. An engineering firm has been contracted to create drawings for fabrication of a new floating bridge.
Want the entire story? Pick up a copy of the Port Isabel-South Padre PRESS, or subscribe to our e-Edition by clicking HERE!