Texas’ Pelican Island Causeway Damaged by Barge

May 16, 2024
A proposal was put forth to replace the bridge

On Wednesday, a barge hit the Pelican Island Causeway in Texas, damaging a portion of the bridge and causing an oil spill in the bay, according to the Galveston County Sheriff’s Office.

The gulf Intracoastal Waterway is shut down for approximately 6.5 miles as officials respond to the incident.

The closure caused a major setback for operations as maritime commercial traffic uses the waterway along the Texas coast.

It also has implications for those on Pelican Island. It's located north of Galveston, with that bridge as the only way on and off Pelican Island.

Galveston County emergency management canceled evacuations from Pelican Island at about 6 p.m. because the bridge was "unstable" and "handrails and concrete were seen shifting."

Before stopping evacuations, officials were allowing drivers to pass the bridge one by one, at about 20 feet apart.

At 8 p.m., the emergency management reopened the bridge only for people exiting Pelican Island, not allowing anyone to enter.

The traffic line to leave was still congested by 9 p.m., and there was no longer a hard stop for evacuations.

The collision occurred around 10 a.m.. Galveston officials said in a news release that there had been no reported injuries.

Vacuum gas oil is leaking from the barge, which has a capacity of 30,000 gallons and is operated by Martin Operating Partnership.

The causeway itself is 3,239 feet long with a span of 164.1 feet.

A proposal was put forth to replace the bridge, with construction to start in summer 2025.

It would stretch from SH 275 to Seawolf Parkway.

The Seawolf Parkway bridge connects Pelican Island to Galveston Island within the city of Galveston.

An overview of the project read, "The deterioration of the Seawolf Parkway bridge has progressed to the extent that any additional deterioration could result in sudden bridge closure. Since this bridge provides sole access to Pelican Island, bridge closure would effectively cut off access for all users, including evacuation and emergency services."


Source: ABC 13, CBS News

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