CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The City Council Tuesday gave its preliminary approval to spend more than $11 million on improvements for a section of Ayres Street between Gollihar Road and South Padre Island Drive.
Most importantly, plans call for about 3,000 feet of sidewalks on both sides of Ayers Street project along the length of the project. Right now, there aren't any, which is why the stretch of Ayers covered by the project is notorious for pedestrians being hit by cars.
“These people need sidewalks for the people that are walking down the roads,” Joe Garza said. “You don't want anybody getting hurt.”
There are also traffic concerns. For instance, making a left turn on Ayers during rush hour is often easier said than done.
“It stops all the traffic,” Garza said. “Sometimes it takes forever for the traffic to clear, so you can't turn, so there's a big line of cars and they're trying to get out of the way. It's just cause for an accident.”
As part of the project, Ayers between Gollihar and SPID will also be widened from four lanes to five to include a center turn lane.
“Sometimes people think there's a middle lane, and they'll get in that middle lane and almost cause a big accident,” said Garza.
Garza is a manager at Koastal Kopies near Ayers and Sunnybrook. He's seen the traffic problems first hand. While he agrees the improvements are needed, he hopes they don't take too long.
“I feel like it's going to hurt a lot of businesses down here,” he said. “If it's just for a little bit, depending on how long they take. If they could hurry up, that would be great.”
The project, which was originally approved by voters as part of Bond 2014, still needs to pass a second vote of the council in a couple weeks. According to the city’s Engineering Department, while there isn't a definitive start date, work is expected to be finished by October 2020.