The City of South Padre Island and SPI Chamber of Commerce canceled a public hearing to discuss plans to build a second causeway that had been set up for 5:30 pm, Thursday. A make-up date for the hearing has not been announced. The proposal to construct an alternate route that connects the Island to the mainland has been on the table for nearly a decade and several public hearings and stakeholder meetings have been held at that time.
Three weeks ago, Cameron County Department of Transportation Director Pete Sepulveda reported that area agencies have spent the last six years working on the project’s environmental phase. He explained that an environmental impact study – which can take six to seven years to complete – is necessary to proceed with construction. “We are working with state and federal agencies in going through that process,” he said.
According to Sepulveda, environmental clearance should be granted in the next 18 months. The alternate route proposal has been offered jointly by the Cameron County Regional Mobility Authority, Texas Department of Transportation, and the Federal Highway Administration. If the environmental impact statement is approved, the public and area agencies will be afforded an additional opportunity to provide feedback with the ultimate opportunity to provide feedback with the ultimate goal being a Record of Decision.
Upon approval, officials estimate the construction would take three years to complete.