CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — TXDOT started construction earlier this month on the JFK Bridge that leads to the Island, reducing traffic to one lane in each direction at night. On Monday night, this construction paired with a stalled vehicle resulted in causeway chaos.
Corpus Christi Police Department Lieutenant Michael Pena said the stalled vehicle got stuck in gear and CCPD responded to the scene to help. He said the incident on the JFK Bridge caused traffic to back up onto the causeway, and though it’s not an incident he said happens often, it’s one that they still train their officers for.
“We’ll have additional officers that will do what we call ‘traffic control’. They’ll position themselves back to protect those vehicles, both fire, EMS, police units, and obviously the parties involved in the crash,” Pena said.
So if there’s only one lane open, then what exactly are fire and EMS vehicles supposed to do if there is an emergency on the bridge?
Nueces County ESD 2’s Chief Dale Scott said they take the road next to the causeway that leads to the base of the bridge. He said if they have to they will use the lane that is blocked off by construction to get to the scene, but like Pena, he said it’s not an incident that happens often. He said it happens more during Spring Break and holidays.
When coming from the Island to SPID, Scott said it’s really the same plan. He said ESD 2 would use the lane construction has blocked and remove some barricades. He said it’s not a hard situation to maneuver.
“Nighttime it’s not going to be too big of an issue because not too many people are out in the evenings and overnight. I think we should be able to get out there without any problems,” Scott said.
TxDOT’s maintenance project is expected to wrap up in the Spring of 2023, and all lanes will be open during hurricane season from June to November and during the Beach to Bay Marathon in May.
A TxDOT representative said they are working with the city of Corpus Christi to clear traffic, but did not provide details on their plan.