CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — For almost a year Padre Island residents have had to drive through a stretch of construction on Park Road 22, between Route 361 and Whitecap Boulevard.
Now, they might notice some changes as the first arch of a bridge was placed over the northbound lanes.
“What you see here is phase one which is the northbound lane," Corpus Christi City Manager Peter Zanoni said. "You can see the bridge supports being placed. The canal has been dug. They’ll be placing sidewalks underneath that as they move forward on phase one construction.”
Zanoni said the project is worth around $18 million when road construction, storm and wastewater systems are added together. Construction began last summer and it was originally planned to take 21 months.
“Phase two will be the southbound lanes," he said. "Phase one will be done this October. Phase two will begin, which will be that same setup you saw there, but on the southbound lanes. And that will conclude by next fall.”
The completed project would give boat access under Park Road 22 leading to the Gulf of Mexico. It'll connect the canals and Packery Channel on each side of the road. But seeing the first part of the bridge wasn’t what some expected.
“I thought, man that bridge is kind of low," Padre Island resident Kim McGuire said. "I don’t know how boats are going to get through. Because we have a lot of boats with T-Tops, raised platforms and such. And that just made me curious.”
McGuire took to Facebook to get other Islanders' thoughts and they shared the same sentiment.
“I don’t know where the ball got dropped during all sorts of planning," McGuire said. "People get the opportunity to meet with officials, then voice concerns. We rely on the planners to think ahead for us. Develop things that would develop the community.”
McGuire added he thought the project was an excellent idea to connect the waterways. He feels most Islanders supported the project too.
"We have so many Islanders with recreational boats, fishing," he said. "And they want to be able to get to the other side quicker. And we're all excited about that bridge then just looking at it, I was like that's low."
With continued construction on Park Road 22, the city announced some traffic pattern changes for Memorial Day Weekend.
To alleviate congestion, there will be full-time green lights at the intersection of Aquarius Street and Park Road 22. Left turns will not be permitted from either of those roads. That change will happen from Thursday afternoon to Tuesday morning of Memorial Day weekend.