It’s good news that the city of Galveston, Port of Galveston and Texas Department of Transportation have come up with a plan to better accommodate very large commercial vehicles attempting to navigate the intersection at Harborside Drive and Interstate 45.
It’s good news for the truck drivers and for the rest of us forced to use that intersection and who never know whether it will take a minute to pass through, or 30 minutes because some trucker is having to thread a needle with 100 feet of wind-turbine blade.
On a good day, the truck hits a curb while making a wide turn, briefly leaving the roadway, and then successfully completes the maneuver and goes on its way.
On a bad day, the truck gets stuck in mud.
Even on good days, when nobody gets stuck, arriving at that intersection the same time as a parade of wind-turbine blades or tower sections can you make you late to such mundane things as work, classes and medical appointments.
In coming weeks, the transportation department will attempt to improve matters by laying an asphalt cap on a grassy area that turns into a quagmire after a good rain.
“The solution is going to be to put some hardscaping in where it’s currently just grass,” said Kyle Hockersmith, Galveston public works director. “That will allow the trucks to just drive on it without making a mess.”
The project will cost about $10,000, the city said. The city and port will split the cost, officials said.
That’s good news, but it’s not great news.
Great news would be a plan to reengineer the intersection so those long-load vehicles can navigate it without a lot of stopping and backing up while the rest of the driving public on hand sits there watching green turn to red and red turn to green.
There’s no plan to cut down the curbs truckers have to jump their rigs over to make the turn, which means they’ll have to creep through the intersection. And the turn will still be so tight they’ll have to back up and adjust to get through it.
State transportation officials say they do intend to rebuild the intersection to better accommodate large industrial vehicles, but will wait until the massive I-45 expansion, which is underway in the north county, makes its way here in a couple of years.
And, presuming though we are to speak for the driving public at large, any improvement would be appreciated.
• Michael A. Smith