The Port of Galveston has been awarded $42.3 million in state funding for a major cargo infrastructure project, as well as restoration of a section of the port’s interior roadway and an enclosed pedestrian walkway over Harborside Drive (State Highway 275).
The port said it will use $3.85 million in state funding to restore and reopen an 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. The walkway was built in the 1990s and has been closed for about 20 years. The port will contribute $1 million for the $4.85 million project.
Work to restore the walkway includes structural and interior improvements and elevators and/or escalators at Cruise Terminal 25 and the parking garage.
“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,” commented Rodger Rees, port director and CEO.
The state awarded $2.5 million to fund the fourth section of the port’s improved and expanded internal roadway between 33rd and 41st streets. The port will provide $655,000 in matching funds. The roadway on the far west end of the port would give improved access to the West Port Cargo Complex and bring more cruise traffic off Harborside Drive (Texas State Highway 275) to alleviate congestion in the downtown area.
“This is the single largest amount of funding ever received by the port and reflects years of work by the port, TxDOT and the PAAC,” Rees said. “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 million for infrastructure projects inside and outside port gates and for ship channel improvements at Texas ports,” he added.
Rees went on to say: “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.”
Galveston ranks as the fourth most popular cruise homeport in the U.S. (in terms of passenger traffic). The port also leases and maintains a wide range of cargo facilities on the deep-water Galveston Ship Channel, which is ranked among the top 50 busiest U.S. cargo waterways. The Galveston Wharves is a self-sustaining city entity whose mission is to generate and reinvest port revenues to benefit the Galveston community with economic growth, jobs and sales tax revenues.
Caption: A state grant for $3.85 million will help the Galveston Wharves fund a $4.85 million project to restore and reopen the enclosed skywalk 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.