More info: The Queen Isabella Causeway is a two and a half mile long concrete pier-and-beam bridge, with a steel cantilever beam main span. The causeway is located in southern Cameron County, Texas. It stretches across the Laguna Madre and is the only road connecting South Padre Island, to the mainland.
In August 1996, a light aircraft collided with the causeway, killing both the pilot and passenger. Witnesses and local authorities reported that the airplane was observed flying a pass under the causeway. Whilst attempting a second pass, the airplane struck a concrete bridge pylon and column and descended uncontrolled into the water.
In September 2001, four loaded barges crashed into one of the Queen Isabella Causeway's support columns traveling at 2/10ths of 1 mile per hour. Three 80-foot (24.4 m) sections of the bridge fell into the water, leaving a large gap in the roadway. Because the collapsed sections were next to the highest point of the causeway, it made it difficult for approaching drivers to notice. Eight people were killed as their cars fell 85 feet (26 m) into the water. Five vehicles were recovered from the water along with three survivors.
Ferries were temporarily used to transport cars across the Laguna but the accident had a big economic impact on the area as not only was it the only connecting road to the mainland but it also carried electricity and water to South Padre.
Two years after the reopening, the causeway was renamed the Queen Isabella Memorial Bridge to honour the victims of the tragedy.