Officials with the Cameron County Regional Mobility Authority (CCRMA) hosted a public hearing Tuesday evening at the South Padre Island Convention Center, and explained how area agencies are collaborating to develop a second causeway.
Access to South Padre Island is currently provided by a single entry point – the Queen Isabella Memorial Causeway.
According to the Authority records, “Due to the high number of Island visitors, the (causeway) experiences severe congestion during peak periods.” The proposal involves building an alternate access route to and from the South Padre Island and generating economic opportunities for the community. Additionally, the alternate causeway could serve as a crucial evacuation route during an emergency.
Tuesday’s presentation covered how the new causeway will be built in multiple phases: project initiation: planning and programming: preliminary engineering; and design/construct/maintain/output.
The initiation phase will establish the project’s basic framework and expectations, the report reads. Phase two will include two public meetings and is expected to take eight months to complete. Construction techniques, cost estimates, value engineering, and design criteria will compromise phase three, which officials expect to last 23 months.
The CCRMA and Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) have partnered in this longstanding development, and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) will reportedly “provide oversight during the development process.”
Records indicate that the second causeway will follow an established development structure: the Executive Committee will oversee the Steering Committee, who, in turn, will manage technical working groups who interact directly with the stakeholders.
“More than 1.5 million Texans and motorists will be impacted by the project.” The report reads.
Officials are still considering various sources of potential financial assistance for the project, including public-private partnerships, toll and/or municipal revenue bonds, shadow trolling, federal grant opportunities, the Texas Mobility Fund and other sources.
A second public hearing, covering the same information, was set for Wednesday evening in Port Isabel but the meeting was canceled due to lack of quorum.