A two-year project to reconstruct and raise the main highway in and out of Galveston’s West End is set to begin next week, leaving some residents concerned about navigating the road work.
The state agency in charge of reconstructing FM 3005 has assured residents it will work to mitigate any negative effects the construction has on traffic, but some people are concerned that traffic in the increasingly popular island’s West End will only get worse with the two-year project.
The $35.3 million project is slated to begin Monday with some preliminary work in the culverts and placing of barricades, said Danny Perez, spokesman for the Texas Department of Transportation, the state agency overseeing the project.
Crews over 30 months will raise the roadway to 7.5 feet above sea level and clean or replace the existing storm sewer, Perez said.
“The road raising will help keep water off the roadway during times of severe weather and while folks are trying to leave the area,” Perez said.
If the project can help with the drainage issues, that would be great, but people are concerned about how long the construction will last, said Ginger Robinson, general manager of the Sea Isle subdivision.
Robinson lives in Texas City, but she’s driven to Sea Isle for work every day for 13 years, she said.
Her commute is about 40 minutes right now, but she’s worried that could double with the new construction, she said.
“Thank goodness they’re waiting till the end of this particular summer, but come next summer, it’s going to be a nightmare,” Robinson said.
The West End is growing as a popular destination for beach-bound tourists who don’t want to pay entrance fees for East End parks, a trend that’s driving more weekend and summer traffic down FM 3005.
Tommy Harrison, owner of Seven Seas Grocery, 17523 FM 3005, sees many tourists in his store, but worries people won’t be able to reach the grocery store easily with all the construction, he said.
“Now, with the traffic line, it takes several hours to evacuate the West End, just people leaving and going home,” Harrison said. “It is going to cause problems.”
Residents will have access to their homes and businesses at all times during the construction, Perez has said. If crews have to make a brief closure, residents will be notified ahead of time, he said.
But crews should always maintain both directions of traffic, and the project shouldn’t require any flaggers, he said.
The construction will probably be a challenge, but residents should be hopeful that the state can resolve the streets’ drainage problems, said Jerry Mohn, president of the West Galveston Island Property Owners Association.
When there’s heavy rain, FM 3005 does have problems draining, with water running down the sides of the road, he said.
“The road’s getting bad,” Mohn said.
Although she’s concerned about how the construction might worsen traffic, it’s time for the improvements, Robinson said.
“I think it’s long overdue,” Robinson said. “It definitely needs to happen.”
The project also includes replacing traffic signals at 12 Mile Road, Park Road 66 and San Jacinto Drive, Perez said.
The state agency expects to complete construction by spring of 2022, he said.