CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — With millions expected to hit the roads for Thanksgiving across the country, locally, TxDOT is alleviating traffic by opening up lanes on major roads with ongoing construction projects. This includes the SPID ramp reversal and I-37 Nueces River bridge projects.
“We do this for two reason: one is safety, and one is mobility,” said Rickey Dailey, the public information officer for TxDOT. “You have people from out of town traveling in the area, so we want to make the roads safe. They may not be familiar with what’s going on in the work zones, sometimes have lanes reduced, so we open up all the main lanes.”
While traveling for Thanksgiving, many plan their trips to avoid traffic either by leaving town, or arriving at their destination early, like Laura Jarmon, who is visiting family from Austin.
“On the way from Austin to San Antonio was terrible, it took three hours, and then yesterday was perfect, three hours from San Antonio to Corpus, we left around noon and got here at three. So, not too bad,” Jarmon said. “We lucked out. I don’t know if everyone came early or left late, or I don’t know, but we were pleasantly surprised.”
Nina Garcia is originally from Corpus Christi, but now lives in Sugarland.
“We came down Tuesday to avoid the traffic,” Garcia said. “There was no traffic, it was great.”
Garcia planned her trip to avoid traffic coming in and going out.
“We might hit some shops early Friday, and then we’ll probably head home to Sugarland on Friday night, again, to avoid the traffic,” she said.
Jarmon and her family will also be leaving town early to avoid traffic.
“I think for Thanksgiving we always go back Saturday because Sunday is a disaster usually,” she said.
Dailey said opening the major roads up helps out-of-town drivers who are not familiar with the area and ongoing projects, but it also helps local drivers with more cars on the road.
“It will provide additional safety for motorists who may be traveling through unfamiliar areas, and also for mobility; to cut down on congestion, and keep traffic moving,” Dailey said. “Work zones can get congested, you can have slow-downs. This will just make the roads safer during this time, where there’s heavy traffic.”
The lane openings will continue through Sunday, and are brought back for all major holidays when more traffic is expected, like Christmas.
As the construction resumes, and more people head out holiday shopping, there are some tips to avoid congestion on local roadways.
“Take backroads, McArdle to the malls if you need to go to the mall,” Garcia said. “Avoid SPID, period,” she laughed.
“To people who are going to travel around, just stay away from the construction sites. There are always alternate routes you can take,” said Jacob Martinez, a Corpus Christi resident and Portland native.