The Ship Channel Constructors (SCC), a joint venture between Traylor Bros., Inc. and Zachry Construction Corporation, were awarded the contract for construction of the Sam Houston Tollway Ship Channel Bridge Replacement in late 2017. The joint venture will build two new landmark cable-stayed bridges across the channel, providing four toll lanes and full shoulders in each direction, while maintaining traffic on the busy water and roadways along the alignment.
The existing fixed highway bridge is a concrete box girder design with a main span of 750 feet. The proposed northbound and southbound bridges will be separate structures, and each will have a fixed cable-stayed main span of 1,320 feet. The piers of the new bridge will be constructed on land and there will be no obstructions in the waterway. The new southbound bridge will be constructed first, within the existing 200-foot right-of-way, adjacent to the existing bridge to the west. The new bridge will be temporarily fitted to handle two-way traffic so that the existing bridge can be demolished. After the removal of the existing bridge, a second bridge will be constructed to handle all northbound traffic. Removal of the old bridge will be down to a depth deemed appropriate by the District Commander and the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).
The new bridge project is needed to address safety, improve regional transportation mobility and access, and address transportation consistency. Safety would be improved by expanding the limited number of travel lanes with inadequate shoulders, steep grades, and limited sight distances. The construction of the new bridge addresses issues stemming from the narrowness of the Houston Ship Channel due to the current location of the main bridge piers within the waterway but outside of the navigational channel, frequent highway closures, and serious traffic delays that ensue after incidents occur.