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Island resident calls for action after seeing the devastation Ian left behind in Florida

Posted at 10:31 PM, Oct 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-05 23:38:25-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — In Florida the Sanibel Causeway was severely damaged after Hurricane Ian.

The damage cut access to the barrier island where over 6,000 people live. A community similar to North Padre Island.

"It just struck a nerve with us. When we heard about the collapse,” said Ted Mandel.

Mandel has lived in North Padre Island for 5 years. During that time, he's heard talk of building a second causeway.

"I'm just hoping what happened in Sanibel can be a catalyst to finally get it done here,” he said.

City leader, Greg Smith echoes Mandel's concerns. He said there's a higher chance of something bad happening with only one road coming in and out.

"If Harvey would have been 20 miles further to the south, there's a very good chance the approaches to the bridge would have been washed out and the island would have been isolated,” Smith said.

Smith said the portion of the causeway that leads into the island is its weakest point. If that were to give way, the ferry would only take care of 10 percent of the traffic the bridge could handle.

"It’s all about the money,” said Smith. “Currently they have this on the long term. We need to move that up on there,” Greg Smith said.

Transportation Planning Director of the Corpus Christi Metropolitan Planning Organization, Robert MacDonald tells KRIS 6, building a second causeway is not a top priority right now.

It’s also listed as an unfunded long-term project. MacDonald said right now, the project doesn’t to meet certain criteria like cost effectiveness and congestion reduction.

TXDOT has no plans to work on the Regional Parkway for the next 10 years.

Mandel hopes that changes in the future.

"I have no hope that I'm going to see that bridge built but there are other people here who need it,” he said.

Greg Smith and Robert MacDonald advise community members to voice their concerns during city meetings as this could help speed up the process, making construction of a second causeway a top priority.