Betsy Bremer’s commute to work has become one big detour.
Although Bremer usually travels north on 51st Street to Pelican Island for her job, she has instead been traveling in nearly opposite directions — west to 37th or south to Broadway. Only then can Bremer find her way back to the north side of 51st Street, where it meets the Pelican Island Bridge.
Her main route to work has been blocked as of late for a major road reconstruction project, which has left much of the street carved out and totally unnavigable.
“They keep changing the detours, so every day it’s an adventure,” Bremer said.
Bremer isn’t alone in her frustration, as much of the island has morphed into one big construction zone. The improvements to island roads aren’t expected to stop anytime soon — the city has planned $25 million in 2018 street repairs and a total of $66 million through 2022.
But residents’ woes over some of the current major road projects on the island should dissipate in the coming months, city officials said. The end is in sight for the 27th Street corridor project as well as construction on Avenue S, city spokeswoman Jaree Fortin said.
“The benefits of the long-term improvements to our infrastructure will far outweigh the short-term inconveniences,” Fortin said. “We are taking measures to lessen the impacts to our residents. However, in some situations those temporary impacts are simply unavoidable.”
Improvements to 51st Street, which is a major thoroughfare to Seawolf Park and Texas A&M University at Galveston, is about halfway done, Fortin said. Construction workers have already completed the underground utilities and are beginning the road overlay process shortly, Fortin said.
Other major projects are further along, Fortin said. The 27th Street corridor project is 75 percent complete, she said.
The project has focused on finishing work around Kermit Courville Stadium. Improvements will include paved sidewalks around the stadium, bicycle connectivity, additional lighting and new landscaping, Fortin said.
A road reconstruction project on Stewart Road from 61st Street to 53rd Street is ahead of schedule and is expected to finish at the beginning of the year, Fortin said.
The detours, especially on Stewart Road and Saladia Street, are a pain, resident Karen Crummett said.
“That detour is just a wreck waiting to happen,” Crummett said.
Some residents, however, are just waiting for the improvements to be done. Then, the road woes will be worth it, said resident Richard Denson.
“It gives you a sense of pride when you see Galveston is making wonderful improvements,” Denson said. “This city has so much deferred maintenance. I personally hope we have construction problems for the next 20 years.”