John F. Kennedy Memorial Causeway

The John F. Kennedy Memorial Causeway is a paved highway located in Corpus Christi, Texas. The causeway crosses the Laguna Madre and connects North Padre Island with Flour Bluff on the Texas mainland.

John F. Kennedy Memorial Causeway
Coordinates27°39′29″N 97°15′41″W / 27.658027°N 97.26127°W / 27.658027; -97.26127
CarriesMotor vehicular traffic traveling on Texas Park Road 22
CrossesLaguna Madre
LocaleCorpus Christi, Texas
Official nameJohn F. Kennedy Memorial Causeway
Named forJohn F. Kennedy
OwnerTexas Department of Transportation[1]
Maintained byTexas Department of Transportation
DesignBox girder bridge
MaterialPost-tensioned concrete
Constructed byFirst bridge: Bauer-Smith Dredging Company[2]
Construction startFirst bridge: February 1949[2]
Second bridge: circa 1970[1]
Construction costFirst bridge: $1.7 million[1]
Second bridge: $2.5 million[1]
OpenedFirst bridge: 17 June 1950[1]
Second bridge: 28 June 1973[1]
ReplacesDon Patricio Causeway


Proposals for a causeway date back to the 1920s, when the Gulf Coast Causeway Company, chartered on 8 October 1925, proposed to build toll roads connecting Corpus Christi to Brownsville via Padre Island as part of a two-year, $1.5 million investment pledge for private development on the island.[2] Later, Cameron County sheriff Colonel Sam A. Robertson, who had previously chartered the Brazos de Santiago Pass Ferry Company that provided ferry access to the island, used his private capital to build the Don Patricio Causeway in 1927.[2] This causeway, named after the previous owner of the island Patrick Dunn, consisted of four parallel wooden troughs on trestles, spaced apart so that the standard automobiles of the time could drive across by placing its tires in them.[3] The causeway opened on 4 July 1927 and was destroyed on 5 September by the 1933 Cuba–Brownsville hurricane; it was not rebuilt.[4]

First bridgeEdit

Port Lavaca-based Bauer-Smith Dredging Company started construction on the first bridge in February 1949; the project was funded by $1.7 million in public bonds.[1][2] The 4.5 mile[2] long raised roadway structure opened on 17 June 1950 as a toll road[1] and was originally called the North Padre Island Causeway; on 26 November 1963, Nueces County officials renamed it after President Kennedy following his assassination in Dallas four days prior.[1] The tolls were removed on 31 October 1967; Nueces County turned over ownership of the bridge to the Texas State Department of Highways and Public Transportation on 1 January 1968.[1]

Current bridgeEdit

As bridge traffic increased, the need to replace the swing bridges over the Intracoastal Waterway along the causeway increased as well. Dredging began in 1970, and the $2.5 million bridge, which was constructed with precast segments transported in from offsite that were joined together with epoxy resin, was finished and was formally dedicated on 28 June 1973.[1][5] The new bridge was the first post-tensioned concrete segmental box girder bridge built in the United States.[5][6]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Ehrlich, Allison (6 September 2018) [First published 5 September 2018]. "THROWBACK THURSDAY: JFK Causeway to Padre Island went from tollway to freeway". Corpus Christi Caller-Times. Corpus Christi. Archived from the original on 20 August 2021. Retrieved 14 September 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Jones, W. Dwayne (14 June 2005) [First published c. 1999]. "Public Park or Private Seashore: The Padre Island Dilemma". Padre Island National Seashore: An Administrative History (Online book). National Park Service. Archived from the original on 6 July 2017. Retrieved 15 September 2021.
  3. ^ "Tourism". Padre Island National Seashore. National Park Service. 8 September 2016. Archived from the original on 1 April 2021. Retrieved 15 September 2021. He named it the Don Patricio causeway in honor of Patrick Dunn. The construction was very simple: four wooden troughs supported by a trestle. The troughs were spaced so that a standard automobile could place it [sic] tires in them and drive across.
  4. ^ Givens, Murphy (6 April 2017) [First published 27 December 2016]. "Unique wooden causeway destroyed in 1933 storm". Corpus Christi Caller-Times. Archived from the original on 26 September 2020. Retrieved 15 September 2021.
  5. ^ a b Kashima, S.; Breen, John E. (February 1975). Construction and Load Tests of a Segmental Precast Box Girder Bridge Model (Report). University of Texas at Austin Center for Highway Research. p. v. CFHR 3-5-69-121-5. Retrieved 15 September 2021. The cantilever construction of the first segmental precast prestressed concrete box girder bridge in the United States has been recently completed on the John F. Kennedy Memorial Causeway, Corpus Christi, Texas. The segments were precast, transported to the site, and erected by the balanced cantilever method of post-tensioned construction, using epoxy resin as a jointing material.
  6. ^ International Federation for Structural Concrete (c. 2001). Luc Taerwe (ed.). Durability of Post-tensioning Tendons (Technical report). Ghent University: International Federation for Structural Concrete. p. 47. Retrieved 14 September 2021. The first precast segmental box girder bridge in the U.S., the John F. Kennedy Memorial Causeway, built in 1971 over salt water on the Texas coast, had a 1999 NBI superstructure condition rating of 6 (satisfactory).