Transportation

Galveston Street Project Could Improve Some Drainage Problems, But It Won’t Fix Everything

The year-long project extends along one of the island’s major thoroughfares.

Galveston’s 45th Street is a well-traveled corridor that runs between Broadway and the Seawall, but its issues are both on the surface and underneath. Now, Galveston is undertaking a $9 million project to rebuild the street, giving it a much needed makeover.

Like a lot of older cities, Galveston has aging underground pipes. And as the infrastructure begins to fail it causes sinkholes and cracks, according to City Manager Brian Maxwell.

“We could do some patches and just pave over it,” said Maxwell. “That’s kind of how it’s been done over the years. But that never really ends well because you end up having to have more repairs on the street which really ruins the drivability.”

And according to Maxwell, all the patching they’ve done in the past has only contributed to their flooding woes.

“Over the years the streets have been built up and built up to where the crown of the street is actually higher that some of the businesses that actually exist on the street,” he said.

As part of the project to rebuild 45th Street, Maxwell said they’ll replace utilities while the street is torn up, basically adding to the life of the project. They’ll also make drainage improvements.

“What we’re hoping to do is upsize the inlets to get better flow into the drain system,” he said. “We’re going to have some cross-connects to actually move the water a little bit faster.”

But Maxwell cautioned that the project won’t fix all the flooding issues that have plagued the island.

“As long as we continue to have the amount of saltwater inundation that we have, it’s going to impact our ability to smoothly flow,” he said. “None of these things are the silver bullet. It is our true goal to have incremental progress. As the city moves toward more permanent solutions and attacks on effects of sea rise, we’ll be in a better position to drain the water at that time.”

Along with improvements to the street itself, the work will also include new lighting, landscaping, and sidewalks. They’re also adding calming measures to help slow down traffic and promote walkability.

“You’re ten times more likely to go into a small business walking by it as you are driving by it and that’s the real goal here,” said Maxwell. “And especially given the mixed-use of this area with a high concentration of residential and business we feel like this can be a big boon to the island and the people who live in that area.”

The project is funded in part through a bond issue Galveston County voters approved in 2017. The work is expected to take about a year and Maxwell said they’re working with businesses along the street to try to minimize the impact of construction.

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Gail Delaughter

Gail Delaughter

Transportation Reporter

From early-morning interviews with commuters to walks through muddy construction sites, Gail covers all aspects of getting around Houston. That includes walking, driving, cycling, taking the bus, and occasionally flying. Before she became transportation reporter in 2011, Gail hosted weekend programs for Houston Public Media. She's also covered courts in...

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