CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — There are some major changes coming to Interstate 37 as part of the new Harbor Bridge Project.
Construction is in the middle of three phases of closures, with the second phase beginning Friday at 9 p.m.
Project developer Flatiron Dragados spoke with 3NEWS about what detours drivers should expect this weekend, and how they will affect local events.
Mira's Baseball Classic draw 51 high school teams from around the state and their fans. With significant closures coming to I-37 – the highway which many will take to get here this weekend – visitors could experience delays getting to Whataburger Field, where the tournament is taking place.
"Tonight, we're doing a full IH-37 southbound and northbound closures around the interchange area, here, so that we can transition traffic onto these newly paved, newly constructed main lanes and a bridge," said Harbor Bridge Project spokeswoman Lynn Allison.
Allison said Phase One of the I-37 closures finished around midnight on Friday.
Phase Two will begin Friday evening, allowing the developer to shift traffic and continue building new lanes and demolish existing ones.
Drivers going southbound on I-37 will detour to Crosstown Expressway. They can then turn around at Tarlton Avenue to avoid stoplights, coming back north to access Highway 181 toward Portland or Downtown Corpus Christi.
"We'll also, tomorrow, have the northbound lanes all open by probably 2 in the afternoon,” she said. “The southbound closure will continue until about noon on Sunday."
The access ramp from I-37 to southbound Crosstown Expressway will be closed from 9 p.m. until midnight on Saturday. Drivers will instead detour there to Port Avenue.
Northbound detours will take drivers from Chaparral Street to the MLK Drive frontage road, entering I-37 near Nueces Bay Boulevard.
It's a lot to take in, and those participating in the Mira's Baseball Classic are hoping word gets out so that fans have an easy time getting to Whataburger Field.
"You got a number of teams coming from across the state, they're traveling a long way, ways to get down here,” said Ray High School athletics coordinator Craig Charlton. “So, it's a big, big deal."
Charlton said between 500-1,000 people attend the event every year.
He does not think construction will be an issue if people are aware of it before they come to the field.
"There is a lot of construction that's going on down here so just plan ahead, try and get there early,” he said. “Make sure you follow all the construction signs and it's, it should be, should be a good evening.”
Allison said dynamic and digital message boards will be placed around the project area to help drivers navigate the detours. Since work will be done after dark, she said the safety of workers and drivers is a priority.
"Our detours that will be in place will likely take an extra five to ten minutes,” Allison said. “We ask that everyone please slow down in the work zone. This is a safety issue not only for the traveling public but for our crews that will be working at night."
Once the three phases are complete, a new overpass will be installed over Port Avenue, and a new connection between Highway 181 and the Crosstown Expressway.
Phase Three is expected to finish Monday morning after closing the northwest loop ramp.