CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — After years of talk, action on the proposed Park Road 22 bridge could finally get going next week.
On Tuesday the City Council is scheduled to vote on a nearly $14 million contract with Haas-Anderson to build the bridge. If approved, work will start in the next couple months, significantly changing Padre Island’s landscape.
It’s a project nearly 15 years in the making.
“It's been a long time coming,” said District 4 City Councilman Greg Smith.
The Park Road 22 project first came up in 2005. A “yes” vote next week would be the beginning of the end for what Smith called a slow process.
“Any time something is slow, it's disappointing.,” said Smith. “It's a very important project, not only for The Island, but the city.”
As part of the process, crews will dig a canal connecting the east and west sides of the road, with the bridge running along PR-22 between US-361 and Whitecap Blvd. That canal will span the bridge’s center arch, arches on either side will serve as pedestrian walkways, allowing people to safely get from one side of PR-22 to the other.
“It ties the two together, not only with boats, but you'll be able to walk there, possibly take a golf cart,” said Smith. “It creates much more of a sense of community.”
Smith says billions of dollars in development are waiting for the bridge, which is great for business. However, serving as a water exchange, the bridge and canal will help the Island’s water quality.
“With the canal complete, it'll bring that fresh gulf water, and it'll change the entire environment in the existing canals”, said Smith.
That’s good news for one of Padre Island’s favorite pastimes.
“The fishing is going to improve in those canals,” said Smith.
The bridge will not be back until the canal is completed up to PR-22. That’s expected to take 60 days. Once the bridge is built, the canal will be completed.
Assuming Tuesday’s consent agenda vote passes, work should start sometime this month or next. The bridge is expected to open sometime in early 2021.