CORPUS CHRISTI (KIII NEWS) -
When you drive down the JFK Causeway you'll now see a large pole sticking right out in the middle of the highway, but that now has a reason to be there. Forever, traffic coming from Corpus Christi down to Padre Island on SPID has always traveled down here at a high rate of speed just speeding down the road, but now the city says these two poles are going to remedy that situation...about to become two brand new stoplights here at SPID and Aquarius Street. But island residents and business owners say instead of being helpful, this seems to just be more of a headache.
Padre Island business owners can all agree: this new stoplight at Aquarius Street has one large positive.
"When I'm crossing the highway the traffic is coming down so fast," said Hope Garza, owner of Island Day Spa.
"They're going 60-70 miles an hour and it's too fast for the island," said Bryan Tumlinson, owner of Island Joe's Coffee.
No doubt, it'll slow down cars and enhance safety. But at Island Joe's Coffee and Island Day Spa they say there are some serious red flags too, both talking major traffic jams.
"Spring Break, 4th of July, we don't know how far into the Bluff people may be stopped," said Tumlinson.
Both owners say they saw slow business just with the installation of the light poles this past week.
"When they were installing the lights we did see a lot of traffic jams cars stopped bumper to bumper," said Garza.
"This last week was kind of slow, a little slow here, slower than normal," said Tumlinson.
And island residents agree...this is going to slow down their commute everyday and back things up. But the city says the project is supposed to do the opposite and help traffic with the new development being built on North Padre Island.
"It's a combination of the city with Tx DOT analyzing that location and if it was proper to put a light in that location," said Jay Ellington, the Interim Assistant City Manager.
The city says the stoplight will be part of a 2017 traffic study, but in the meantime, island business owners and residents are left with a waiting game of stop and go, trial and error.
"We'll see what happens. I know it's a worry for a lot of islanders here," said Garza.
And the city says this project is actually behind. The lights will be turned on in 30 to 60 days and then the city will evaluate traffic concerns from there. Reporting on SPID on Padre Island, Briana Whitney 3 News.