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When could Padre Island see a second bridge?

On Monday, a major crash resulted in the closure of all westbound lanes on the JFK Causeway. The accident begs the question: could an alternate route ever be built?

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A major crash that shutdown traffic going to and from Padre Island for hours on Monday has some Island residents asking, when, or if they can get a second bridge.

The idea has been a topic of discussion before, with the city of Corpus Christi approving the project back in 2019.

RELATED: JFK Causeway reopens after major morning crash

Corpus Christi District 5 Councilman, Gil Hernandez, told 3NEWS that as the city continues to grow, the Regional Parkway Project, which involves the JFK Causeway, needs to be a priority. 

The Regional Parkway would serve to decongest traffic on South Padre Island Drive and provide better safety conditions in the need of a hurricane evacuation.

"It's important that if something does happen to the JFK Causeway, you have backway means for people to get on and off the Island," he said. 

Hernandez said that Hurricane Ian was an eye opening experience and an example into what could happen during a major weather event. 

"An island is completely cut off because a bridge got destroyed; there is no other means to get to that island," he said. 

The Regional Parkway Project is currently slated to go through the King Ranch property, and would also benefit more than just those who reside on the Island. 

"It wouldn't only help the southside, which is District 5 which would have a connection from Rodd Field to 286 or Crosstown, but would kickstart that effort to have a regional parkway all the way to the Island and a second connection to the bridge," Hernandez said. 

Robert MacDonald is with the city's Metropolitan Planning Organization, and said the project has been in the books for a couple of years, but hasn't seen much movement. 

"The project needs the next step from a local government or TxDOT to move the project forward through the next planning process, which is clearance and preliminary analysis on how the project can be developed," MacDonald said. 

Funding is also a crucial part to the project.

"From there it can go after additional federal transportation dollars, or it can come after money we have in our regional process. We look forward to one of the local governments to move the project forward if it is a priority for them in the near future."

MacDonald said they should consider what they are doing in the Valley to pay for their new crossing from Brownsville to South Padre Island.


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