Improving congestion and safety while making it easier to exit eastbound SPID between Crosstown and Airline Road -- that's the goal of a Texas Department of Transportation project that engineers hope to begin this fall.
When the four-year project is complete, you will see an on ramp to SPID instead of the exit ramp that's there now. The idea is to avoid having drivers exit on top of an intersection, forcing backup onto the highway.
"The exit ramp behind us on State Highway 358 eastbound, which is commonly know as South Padre Island Drive, this exit ramp as part of a $50 million project will be turned into an on ramp for Everhart," TxDOT's Rickey Dailey said.
Dailey was referring to the Weber Street on ramp to SPID. Each exit and entrance ramp eastbound on SPID between Crosstown and Airline Road will be reversed, allowing use of a longer stretch of access road for drivers to get on and off the highway.
Engineers hope this will eliminate the daily backup that sees motorists stopped on 358 waiting to exit at Kostoryz, Weber, Everhart, Staples and Airline Road.
Dailey said the project also calls for widening SPID.
"In the eastbound direction we'll have what will be a fourth lane," Dailey said. "It's an auxilliary lane and that will allow for traffic to weave on and off also."
The four-year project also includes improvements to the median, lighting, traffic signals, signage, curbs, sidewalks and more. TxDOT also promises to avoid lane closures during the holidays.
Drivers that spoke with 3News were thrilled.
"I think it's a good idea," Jaime Moreno said. "It makes traffic a lot safer. Shortly after they completed the first phase, I thought, why haven't they done that to this side?"
"I think it's about time," Daniel Alvarez said. "I think it should have been done a long time ago. The city's growing and it seems like the city's not compensating for the growth of the city. And if they did that, there'd probably be less accidents."
"I think that would be good to do because it could cause an accident, so much backup on the Expressway," Maria Martinez said.
The four-year, $50 million project starts later this fall and TxDOT plans to avoid lane closures between Thanksgiving and New Year.