GALVESTON — A long-awaited street project is close to being started.
City officials said they are awaiting final approvals to begin the reconstruction of 43rd Street in Galveston.
“It’s a major project,” said Ross Blackketter, the city’s director of public infrastructure. “It’s going to be a complete reconstruction.”
The project will reconstruct the street from Broadway south to Avenue U.
The city will replace all of the utilities on the street — including storm drainage and water and sewer pipes. New curbs and gutters will be installed, as well as sidewalks. The entire street will also be repaved.
Once the project begins, it is expected to take at least six months to complete, Blackketter said.
The street will remain open while the project is completed, but traffic will be affected.
“There will be some inconvenience,” Blackketter said. “There’s just no way to rebuild a street and not have some inconvenience going on.”
The street has been on the city’s list to be repaired since at least the 1990s, Blackketter said. If it is not repaired soon, the infrastructure is in danger of failing completely.
“It doesn’t do any good to repair a street unless you fix the problems underneath it,” Blackketter said. “That’s why we’re doing the utilities.”
The project will be paid for by Round 2.1 Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery Grants.
The money for the street reconstruction is part of $17.4 million in federal grants that was, for a time, at the center of disagreements between the city and the Texas General Land Office. In April 2013, the land office informed the city that the money would not be released until the city showed “real and meaningful steps” toward the reconstruction of low- and middle-income housing on the island.
The city and the land office reached a deal on the money in August 2013 to guarantee the grant. The same grant money is also supposed to be used to pay for a reconstruction project on Market Street from 14th to 33rd streets and on 53rd Street from Broadway to Seawall Boulevard.
Those projects are expected to start soon as well but after the beginning of the 43rd Street project.
No set date has been set for the beginning of the 43rd Street reconstruction. The city is waiting on a final approval from the General Land Office, then must put the project out for bid. Blackketter said that work should begin before the end of the year.
“We’re really looking forward to this project — the street’s in very poor condition,” he said. “It’s going to be a major improvement for that area of town.”