CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — In December, a committee on North Padre Island will meet with Texas Department of Transportation officials about the need for a second causeway between the mainland of Corpus Christi and the island.
It’s been on the minds of many residents out there for decades, but recent growth is creating more push on the efforts to build one.
“The Port Aransas, Padre Island, Flour Bluff Zone, it’s one of the largest real estate areas now,” District 23 State Representative Todd Hunter said.
Growth that was barely there 20, 10 or even five years ago when retiree Ted Mandel decided on the island life.
“Tourism is going to increase, the number of residents is going to increase and I’m sure everybody is going to experience traffic jams on weekends during the summer spring break,” Mandel said.
Mandel said he’s seen the negative effects of having only one causeway.
“Talk about fate,” Mandel said. “It was just a week ago that one of the power poles on the causeway back there went down and it’s like how many reminders do we need.”
“Not only is it a safety issue,” Rod Lewis, the owner of Hard Knocks, said. “But it’s an issue for businesses when you shut those particular lanes down and people can’t get here.”
Mandel and Hunter decided to spearhead the effort to get a second causeway in the works.
“You’re seeing increased traffic,” Hunter said. “You’re starting to see different weather patterns that shows the necessity and the concerns to have evacuations so sometimes the timing just happens.”
One of the areas discussed in the past starts for a causeway would be at Roddfield Road going down Yorktown Blvd. into Flour Bluff and over the Laguna Madre.
“We have a group looking at various areas,” Hunter said.
There would need to be various studies including wildlife studies to even begin answering the questions of if, when, how much and who will be paying for a second causeway.
A meeting will be held at Hardknocks on the island December 12 from 10-11:30 a.m.
Then on Dec. 15 , a second meeting will be held at Hardknocks where TxDOT officials are expected to attend from 3-4:45 p.m.
Hunter said he wants to be prepared to talk to other state representatives during January’s legislative session.
“We’re gonna start looking at funding areas statewide because this a transportation not only for the area, but for the state of Texas,” Hunter said.