Many remember the collapse of the Queen Isabella Causeway back in 2001. It was just after 9-11, and fear was considered to be at all time high.
Despite not being a terror attack, many came to the realization that a second access was needed.
As we near the fifteenth year anniversary of such a tragic date, residents hear rumors that a bridge is on the way.
Meanwhile, the texas department of transportation and the Cameron County Regional Mobility Authority are working towards a construction of a second access.
CCRMA executive and Cameron County Judge, Pete Sepulveda says, “It certainly will be the biggest in the whole South Texas because of the economic development that it is going to create. The job creation it’s going to create. And we’re planning a road to connect Edinburg to South Padre Island.”
We talked to the people of south padre and asked them what such a project would mean to them.
Winter Texan Andrea Garcia states, “Everything is towards progress, everything is towards growth, and everything is towards futuring the economy. With having two bridges assessing to the island you’d have a lot more people, you’d have a lot more commerce.”
But it’s not all about having more commerce, as long time visitors, they too notice traffic jams in the causeway.
“Look at your spring breakers when the local residents have to wait over half an hour just to cross the bridge. We experienced this on Valentine ’s Day when everyone was leaving the island. I can imagine how it was on spring break,” says Garcia
“This weekend, valentine’s weekend, there was a lot of traffic. In fact, we were stopped on top of the Queen Isabelle Bridge. A second bridge may improve business,” states Winter Texan Robert Sandol.
A route from Edinburg will reduce their travel time considerably; some estimates claim that such a distance could be cleared in less than an hour.
Sandol says, “That sounds like a reasonable route to take. I guess I’m not too familiar with the funding that is being talked about the bridge. I’m assuming they’re going to get federal dollars in addition to state dollars and local dollars.”
This project is speculated to be a tremendous effort for the state and the Rio Grande Valley. We asked local residents for their input on this second access.
Local Resident Joe De La Garza says, “I, personally, would like to see a biking access, a bicycle trail on there, which would make it more of a destination. By bringing more activities for people, people my age the baby boomers, we’re out there we’re doing things: we’re riding bicycles, we’re riding skateboards, we’re surfing, paddle boarding so yes great things are coming to the island.
South Padre Island City Councilman Dennis Stahl says, “Speaking as a resident, many of us here would be excited to have a second way off the island, as I’ve mentioned, safety is a big concern, but also a little bit quicker to get off of south padre island and over to the mainland.”
Most of the support seems to be positive. Hurdles have to be overcome in order for construction to begin in the upcoming years. Nonetheless this infrastructure is said to benefit the region.
Sepulveda says, “It is going to be huge, not just for us now maybe but if you look at generations to come and the future. You look 40, 50 years into the future it is going to be great.”
At this time the CCRMA is urging private developers interested in joining the project to contact them directly.