Local drivers already annoyed by a traffic bottleneck on the northbound lanes of Interstate 45 near Tiki Island lately have been asking where all the construction workers have gone and whether the project is on track.

Texas Department of Transportation officials said Thursday that recent bad weather had stopped work on the project, but the work would resume soon.

“We have been doing some prep work in the meantime and hope to continue the major work within the next few weeks,” said Danny Perez, spokesman for the Texas Department of Transportation.

The project, which began in December with major traffic backups on the causeway, was scheduled to end in March, but several Galveston County residents are concerned that conditions on the stretch of highway are unsafe and no one is working on it.

“If roadwork doesn’t start next week, then the timing of the lack of construction would bother me, but I still think the bigger issue is that the right lane is unsafe and undrivable unless you’re in a four-wheel pick up,” Matthew Hay said.

The plan following weather delays is to have work complete by late March or early April, Perez said.

Construction crews began the project by shutting down the left two lanes of a freeway overpass near Tiki Island while keeping two right lanes open.

Crews also removed the top layer of pavement in the far right lane of the overpass.

The project is part of a repair project on the bridge deck and expansion joints of the overpass, Perez said.

Work on the left lanes was initially planned to conclude in mid-January, when crews would move on to the right two lanes. Some drivers who’ve noticed the absence of workers in the project site are concerned that might not happen. And they are right.

Officials now hope to have the inside lanes complete by late January or early February before moving to the next step, Perez said.

Department officials are also taking upcoming Galveston events into account as the project moves forward, Perez said.

City of Galveston officials had earlier expressed concern about traffic during Mardi Gras.

Mardi Gras, an annual pre-Lenten festival that draws thousands of visitors to Galveston and is among the city’s most lucrative events, is scheduled from Feb. 2 to Feb. 13, a month before the project is expected to be complete.

The contractor doing the work has had recent history in Galveston County.

Durwood Greene Construction completed a road milling project on the north- and southbound lanes of I-45 along a 2.1-mile stretch of highway between Tiki Island and Texas City that led to many upset drivers calling the Texas Department of Transportation to complain about vehicle damage from flying debris.

That incident led to more than 85 people, represented by attorney William Underwood III, filing a lawsuit in Galveston County courts.

That case is still ongoing, court records show.

Durwood Greene Construction has not responded to any requests for comment during that incident or following the newest construction project.

Matt deGrood: 409-683-5230; matt.degrood@galvnews.com

(8) comments

David Schuler

So now we have a race between the Seawall Loos and the TxDot Overpass! Which delayed project gets done first? Memorial Day? Labor Day? Next Thanksgiving? (Actually, "Seawall Loos" is good name for a band...)

Walter Manuel

There were plenty of days that this construction company had that they could have been working before this cold spell hit and yet they didn't.

First this job was supposed to be completed by the end of January and then it was moved to the end of March and now it's likely to be completed by the end of March or early April??

Seriously???

Work on this bridge should be done 24/7 until it's completed. Period!

Someone is definitely peeing on our leg and trying to convince us that it's raining. [yawn]

Blanca Bell

Correct, there were plenty of days that Durwood Greene could have been working but weren't. And the right lane going North is horrible. Good work DG and smart thinking, close two lanes and destroy one of the other two that is in use.
DG should be fired.

Steve Fouga

The weather just hasn't been that bad. I can understand stopping for heavy rain, but a light dusting of snow or temps in the 30s are simply not good enough reasons to halt construction work. For much of the country, the weather we've "endured" the past few weeks is simply normal weather. Life goes on. Hell, I've been working in my yard the past several weeks, except for the rainy days, and I'm not even getting paid.

Add me to the list of folks who don't understand the reason for tearing up road surfaces so far in advance of when the surface is to be replaced. Doesn't anybody know how to do a critical-path schedule? Don't construction companies maintaining public roads understand that the core of their job is serving the public, and part of serving is avoiding the creation of inconvenience? [angry]

Doyle Beard

were u in your yard 8-10 hr days for several weeks all day long. Sounds like a stretch to me. ? If you did not do the work then would have to pay someone if u wanted it done so really you paid yourself.
I have been in the north and east and one certainly doesn't see much road building this time of year.

Steve Fouga

LOL. Come on, Doyle, in the north and east it's routinely near zero or below, with plenty of snow and ice. Our temp was in the 30s and 40s, and we had some brief snow flurries. The weather was no excuse. There were plenty of days with sunshine and moderate temperatures, with no work going on.

Refinery workers work outside in bad weather. Airport workers. Commercial fishermen. Farmers and ranchers. People work outdoors in bad weather all the time. Sure, if it's extreme, some folks get to close up shop. Our weather was not extreme, except for a few days.

Jim Forsythe

Planning seems to be lacking on this project. If they had look at low temperatures of the past, January may not be the best month to plan repaving a road .
It may not be a matter of the worker being the hold up. Cool temperatures make asphalt work, time sensitive and with cooler temperature's it can make it impossible to do without being bumpy, uneven, irregular . Workability, is the main reason road work does not happen in cold temperature's.

This is about driveways, but the same holds true for roads. (The asphalt is heated to over 300 F to liquefy it.)
The more asphalt you are dealing with, the more leeway you have.
For instance, at 40 F, work crews have only 16 minutes to work with 1.5" depth hot-mix asphalt. But as the depth of asphalt grows to 3 inches, so too does the workability time: 46 minutes. (The lower the  temperature , the less time before it sets up. )

https://www.thespruce.com/asphalt-driveway-paving-1822355

Leigh Cowart

Hopefully, as more people complain, maybe something will get done sooner, rather than later. Turn up the heat on this project because everytime people leave this Island and have a bad experience doing so, it will be a decisive factor in whether or not they want to return!!! Bottom line, $$$$.

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