- Associated Press - Monday, January 15, 2018

GALVESTON, Texas (AP) - Some business leaders in Galveston have suggested building a land bridge to Pelican Island to replace a more than 60-year-old drawbridge and better control silt.

Todd Sullivan, with Sullivan Interests and a member of the Port of Galveston’s governing board, recommends creating a strip of land - similar to a jetty - across the waterway as a foundation for a road and railway, The Galveston County Daily News reports .

“We plan on saying that this proposal could reduce silting as much as 90 percent,” Sullivan said.

Galveston County officials are considering ways to replace the aging bridge connecting 51st Street to Pelican Island. The existing drawbridge for Pelican Island, which is home to Texas A&M University-Galveston, was built in 1957.

HDR Inc., a Houston engineering firm hired by the county to create three bridge design plans, returned three options, all overpass bridges with construction and planning costs ranging from $63 million to $121 million to replace the existing Pelican Island Bridge. A land bridge could cost $200 million more than the preferred plan, officials said.

“I don’t know where the funding is going to come from unless someone gives us $210 million,” County Judge Mark Henry said.

The port in 2017 spent more than $2.1 million on maintenance dredging, significantly more than the $877,000 port officials initially estimated.

The port isn’t alone in spending money to maintain parts of the Galveston harbor, especially after hurricanes like Harvey, which slammed Texas in late August.

“It’s expensive,” said Capt. Allan Post, executive director of marine education support and safety operations at Texas A&M University at Galveston. “It just cost us $550,000 to dredge our dock after Hurricane Harvey. That was to remove 22,000 cubic yards of silt and mud.”


Information from: The Galveston County Daily News, http://www.galvnews.com

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