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City Council votes to permanently close Power and Padre Street exits

Posted at 9:45 PM, Mar 27, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-28 23:19:08-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The Corpus Christi City Council voted late Tuesday night on a proposed adjustment to the ongoing re-striping work done by Tx-DOT at some of the Harbor Bridge’s southbound exits.

KRIS 6 News has been looking into the wrong way drivers easily making their way onto the Harbor Bridge in its special investigation “Facing Danger”.

On March 2, just one day after Texas Governor Abbott told KRIS 6 in an exclusive interview that he thought TxDOT’s efforts to that point were “inadequate”. TxDOT temporarily shut down the bridge’s southbound exit at Power Street to turn it into a one-way street and re-stripe it.

TxDOT then temporarily shut down the bridge’s Padre Street exit to turn it into a single-lane, one-way street as well. The one-way designation is from North Tancahua Street to Ramirez Street.

Another exit ramp was then closed by TxDOT. The North Upper Broadway ramp was closed, and Twigg Street was reconfigured into a single lane.

But now, after the work has already begun, there are proposed changes in the projects.

In Tuesday’s city council meeting a resolution was voted on to concur with a new TxDOT proposed plan to keep both Power and Padre Street exit ramps closed. The plan is to also restore two-way traffic on Padre Street, which is a TxDOT frontage road, from North Tancahua Street to Ramirez Street.

"Based on the evidence of crashes, based on really the sentiment of business owners, we felt like it would be prudent to support TxDot's recommendation," said Corpus Christi City Manager Peter Zanoni. "Businesses that were in that lower part of the Sea District were saying that access is impeded with the one way conversion on padre and they wanted it 2 way again. TxDOT said they were willing to do that again however we would need to close these two ramps and we concurred with that."

This latest change comes after a March 14 meeting between the city, TxDOT officials and area S.E.A. District business owners.

"Brewster's has seen an impact from the closings, so business wise yes it will definitely bring us back to where we were before they closed and I believe this is the best long term safety solution for access the wrong way on the harbor bridge," said Brill Durrill, owner of Brewster Street Ice House and multiple other properties in the area.

Those business owners have voiced their concerns saying that the one-way plan has adversely impacted their businesses.

This change came after KRIS 6 initially asked city leaders about closing these two ramps.

The city told us at the time that law enforcement believed the ramp closures would cause too many backups on to the Harbor Bridge during events.

But after conferring with CCPD, they are no longer concerned about that aspect.

"We did check with the police department and they felt that when you weigh in all the evidence that it was ok to do so, they were more supportive of it than they were in the past," said Zanoni.

But this permanent closure and re-opening of two way traffic on Padre is not the fix all, as businesses in the area are asking TxDOT to do more to make it easier for drivers.

"The confusion at the southbound portion of the bridge needs to be better routed for people trying to get to Cross Town or to I-37 back out to Calallen or into the downtown or sea district area, there just needs to be more visibility or signage in the area," stated Durrill.

While it's unknown when work will get started on the "new" re-striping of Padre Street to bring it back to its original two-way configuration.

TXDOT officials tell us this work should be completed "With the month of April."

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