Galveston County commissioners voted last week to approve a resolution supporting the replacement of the Pelican Island Bridge with a $91 million, 75-ft high conventional bridge.
The selection of the $91 million proposal effectively puts any future plans for a rail line to Pelican Island on hold. County officials had been considering a $217 million land bridge—which would have created a strip of land extending across the waterway from Galveston Island to Pelican Island—to allow for development of a rail component. The cost of the land bridge, and significant opposition from local environmentalists who believe a land bridge would endanger the health of Galveston Bay, put those plans on the back burner.
The next step is securing the funding for the $91 million proposal. The Texas Department of Transportation has already committed $45 million to the project and is also helping pay for repairs to keep the current Pelican Island Bridge functional for the next 10 years.
As for the remaining funds, the city of Galveston is prepared to commit around $5 million to the project, with another $8 million coming from the Houston-Galveston Area Council. The other local participants, Texas A&M University, Galveston County and the Galveston County Navigation District, the owner of the bridge, have not yet put forth firm funding commitments.
Source: Houston Chronicle