Galveston Wharves in Texas has been awarded $42.3 mill in state funding for a major cargo infrastructure project, restoration of a section the port’s interior roadway and an enclosed pedestrian walkway over Harborside Drive (State Highway 275).
The Texas Transportation Commission, governing body for the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), approved the funding at its 28th September meeting on the recommendation of TxDOT’s Port Authority Advisory Committee (PAAC).
The projects will be funded through TxDOT’s Maritime Infrastructure Programme with a $15.75 mill match from Galveston Wharves. The three projects are included in the port’s 20-year strategic master plan.
Around $3.85 mill will be used to restore and reopen the enclosed walkway over Harborside Drive at 25th Street to give cruise passengers, workers and the public safe access to cruise terminals 25 and 28, Shearn Moody Plaza parking garage and the Strand Historic District.
This walkway was built in the 1990s and has been closed for about 20 years. The port will contribute $1 mill to the $4.85 mill project.
Work to restore the walkway includes structural and interior improvements and elevators and/or escalators at Cruise Terminal 25 and the parking garage.
Rodger Rees, Galveston Wharves Port Director and CEO (pictured), said, “Thousands of cruise passengers travel through the terminals each week. Some walk across busy Harborside Drive with their luggage. Reopening this walkway will give passengers, waterfront workers and visitors safe, convenient access to the port and downtown.
“As a self-funding city entity, we would not be able to do these critical projects without the funding allocation from the 88th Texas Legislature and the support of Gov Greg Abbott, Sen Mayes Middleton, the Texas Transportation Commission, the PAAC, TxDOT staff and the Galveston Wharves Board of Trustees,” he said.
Talking about the whole funding, Rees said, “This is the single largest funding amount ever received by the port and reflects years of work by the port, TxDOT and the PAAC. These shovel-ready projects will expand our cargo business, improve traffic flow and make it safer for pedestrians to access cruise operations and downtown Galveston.
“This major economic investment is possible because the 88th Texas Legislature made history in their last regular session by allocating $640 mill for infrastructure projects inside and outside port gates and for ship channel improvements at Texas ports,” he said.