PORTLAND, Texas — Following a three-day hiatus, the Texas Department of Transportation said in a news release it will be resuming a pavement improvement project on U.S. 181 North tonight.
That project is set to run from 9 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. the next day for the next four consecutive days, weather permitting, TXDOT said.
“Motorists can expect a double-lane closure Sunday and Monday nights on northbound US 181 from the Nueces Bay Causeway to FM 893 (Moore Avenue) during these hours,” the release said. “The closure is expected to be reduced to a single-lane closure the following two nights. The closures will allow work crews the space necessary to safely pave the inside lane and shoulder.”
Previously, work had begun in the same area late Wednesday afternoon, causing a major traffic snarl for those traveling from Corpus Christi to Portland.
Richard Zimmerman, a Portland resident, was headed home from his shift at Driscoll Children’s Hospital. He said he was stuck in traffic for an hour and 45 minutes.
“(I) noticed that the traffic was slowing down and I thought that there might have been a wreck somewhere along the way,” Zimmerman said. “I looked out — as far as I could see — and I saw traffic all the way to Portland and that’s when I realized I was going to be here for a while.”
Zimmerman said he didn’t receive any notification about the project on Wednesday.
There were no clear announcements of the project on TXDOT’s social media sites, although the City of Portland did make a brief announcement on their Facebook page at 5 p.m. Wednesday.
Zimmerman, who works in the medical field, said he believes the project could have been handled better.
“Our concern was if we had a patient that was stuck in North Shore ER that we had to transport to Driscoll Hospital, how would we have gotten to that patient?” Zimmerman said. “We would’ve had to go all the way around to Odem to transport the patient back to Driscoll Hospital.”
While he is thankful that he won’t likely be stuck in a similar jam for some time, Zimmerman said he believes the project should have been an overnight project from the start.
“I know further up the road in Portland, they’re doing the construction on the new addition that they’re doing, so yeah, I believe that they should have done this at night,” he said.
TXDOT said motorists are urged to be aware of the closure and expect delays.