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Are the ramp closures and increased enforcement working?

Are the Power and Padre Street Ramp Closures reducing Wrong Way Drivers?
Wrong Way Sign
Posted at 10:55 PM, Apr 10, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-11 16:53:03-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Some officials are saying there is positive progress in addressing wrong way drivers on the Harbor Bridge.

KRIS 6 News began looking into the number of people killed by drivers traveling Southbound on Northbound lanes of the Harbor Bridge in November and the first investigative special reports published in February.

6 Investigates discovered there have been 11 wrong-way crashes on the Harbor Bridge or Hwy. 181 between 2015 and 2022.Those accidents resulting in eight deaths and 11 injuries.

KRIS 6 News anchor Pat Simon spoke withTexas Governor Greg Abbott about the efforts of the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to stop wrong way drivers.

Governor Abbott said TxDOT's plans were "inadequate."

April 3, just under a month after first reporting about the dangers associated with Harbor Bridge exit ramps, the governor announced that two ramps have been permanently shut down.

Abbott also shared efforts by Department of Public Safety troopers to curb accidents.

Power and Padre streets exits have been shut down for nearly a month, and Portland Police Chief Mark Cory said during that time his officers have not had to respond to any wrong-way drivers.

"All the work that TxDOT and DPS, and that we've done is making an impact because up to a month ago we still had 2 wrong way drivers, or 6 weeks ago. Since all these things were put in place, we've had zero," Cory said.

But that's not the case for DPS, as Chief Cory told KRIS 6 that troopers made a wrong way driver stop at the Twigg Street exit where a trooper is stationed in early April.

During the State of the State luncheon, Abbott said DPS had conducted 2,000 traffic stops over a 20-day period between March 11th and March 30th.

Along with these traffic stops, they made 22 driving while intoxicated (DWI) arrests and 51 arrests for narcotics.

But those are just the arrests made by troopers.

Portland Police also made 18 DWI arrests in that same time-frame, with an average blood alcohol concentration of .15, which is nearly double the legal limit.

As for the Harbor Bridge Wrong Way Driver Coalition Task Force, DPS officials tell KRIS 6 News that they will remain at the Twigg Street exit until they are no longer needed and there is no end date scheduled for this enforcement.

TxDOT said that a third exit ramp currently closed, the Broadway Street ramp, remains "under evaluation." It is unknown if this exit will close permanently.

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