CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Two southbound exit ramps off the Harbor Bridge have been permanently shut down.
During a Monday State of the State address at the Congressman Solomon P. Ortiz International Center, Governor Greg Abbott announced the permanent closure of the Power and Padre street exit ramps.
Documents and interviews reveal these ramps were suspected to be the most likely access point for many drivers entering the Harbor Bridge the wrong way.
WATCH THE FULL STATE OF THE STATE HERE
The decision to close these ramps comes after KRIS 6 News began investigating wrong-way crashes on the Harbor Bridge in November, after two people were killed in a wrong-way driver crash.
One month ago, the governor told KRIS 6 News in an exclusive interview that TxDOT's efforts to resolve safety issues were "inadequate".
"First I support them 100 percent. This is extraordinarily dangerous, and the danger is unacceptable, and action has to be taken. The issue is what that action will be. I have received information from TxDOT about what they are doing. While there are making an effort to try to do something about it, I consider that effort to be inadequate. And I expect greater urgency and greater effectiveness of the solutions they are providing. So either TxDOT works with, let's say, Texas Department of Public Safety to implement safety measures, also working with the city of Corpus Christi or we come up with some legislation that addresses it. Whatever can be done, it must be done quickly to make sure no more lives are lost, no more lives are in danger," Governor Abbott said.
Hours after the governor issued that directive, TxDOT began work shutting down the bridge's southbound exits at Power Street to turn it into a one-way street and re-stripe it.
On March 14, after businesses began to speak out against this plan, business leaders met with city and TxDOT leaders and agreed upon a plan to permanently shut down the Power Street and Padre Street exits. The plan also re-opened Padre Street to be a two-way road.
"Along those lines we learned about the deaths that were occurring, because of people driving the wrong way on the roads, and it was a tragedy, a tragedy that had to stop. So I had the Texas Department of Public Safety, as well as TXDOT, work with your local leaders to make sure that we fixed that," Governor Abbott said in the Monday State of the State.
The governor also said since the formulation of the newly formed Wrong-Way Task Force formed on March 11. Over a 20-day period, the Department of Public Safety has conducted 2,000 traffic stops, resulting in 22 arrests for driving while intoxicated and 51 arrests for narcotics.
KRIS 6 will continue to provide updates and reports on Harbor Bridge wrong-way driver incidents in our special report "Facing Danger".
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