CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Many who live in Corpus Christi and use State Highway 358 East know all too well traffic can back up during rush hour.
“I live in Aransas Pass so every time I come to Corpus there’s so much construction that I kind of don’t feel like coming too often because of it,” Belinda Garza said.
The State Highway 358 ramp reversal project started in 2018 and is hoping to change that. The project is run by TXDOT and they’re hoping traffic will flow more freely with this project.
The project is reversing ramps, meaning existing exit ramps will turn into entrance ramps and existing entrance ramps will turn into exit ramps. Think of it as a vice versa sort of thing when it comes to exit and entrance ramps.
Rickey Dailey, the TXDOT public information officer for the Corpus Christi area said, “The need for it is to enhance safety and to improve mobility.”
He said prior to the project there was a lot of conflict between vehicles merging to and from the Eastbound main lanes and frontage roads. He said that resulted in increased crashes.
All of the ramps are currently complete except for the one on Airline Road, which will be completed in December.
Speaking of December and the holidays, Dailey said TXDOT has a plan for the upcoming season.
“We have paused traffic during Christmas, Thanksgiving, Fourth of July, Spring Break, just because we knew that the traffic would be heavier,” Dailey said.
However, some residents of Corpus Christi like Tricia Heisler said she has lived in Corpus Christi for 15 years and finds that a lot of the construction projects take a long time. She used to live in Washington and said projects didn’t take as long. She said even with the project, she is still expecting a lot of traffic.
“If you come in the afternoon closer to 5, it’s really really bad and congested and you can’t even get out there on the road until somebody’s nice and lets you in,” Heisler said.
The project is expected to finish in the summer of next year, but Dailey said that is subject to change even though they’re on schedule.
After finishing the ramp reversal on Airline, Dailey said they will be working on finishing the median barrier between the Eastbound and Westbound lanes. TXDOT is also shifting the main lanes to their final configuration and adding new asphalt pavement.