Safety barrier comes down, bridge access halted, reopened after nearly two hours
By Gaige Davila
UPDATE: Eastbound and Westbound lanes have been reopened as of 10:30 a.m. and 10:45 a.m.
The Queen Isabella Memorial Causeway shut down on Wednesday morning just before 9:00 a.m. on February 26, Wednesday. The initial cause was thought to be high winds triggering the bridge’s warning system, installed after the Causeway’s 2001 collapse, which killed eight people.
A spokesperson with the Pharr District of the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) said high winds can cause driver warning systems to trip, but the likely cause was a power outage on the Causeway, Port Isabel Police Department (PIPD) Chief Robert Lopez told the PRESS. The City of South Padre Island released a statement also saying the bridge’s closure and warning system triggering was due to a possible power outage.
Lopez said PIPD is checking on the bridge and is waiting for a TxDOT representative to inspect the bridge. The spokesperson for TxDOT said the process should take 15 minutes once they arrive. Lopez told the PRESS they will arrive within 30 minutes.
PIPD squad cars blocked access to the bridge minutes after the barrier came down, causing traffic lines down South Garcia street and Highway 100, in Port Isabel. Traffic from South Padre Island has also been stopped.