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Associate at the Goodman Corporation
Please provide contact information for the agency official who is representing the project sponsor. This individual will be considered the official applicant and must be authorized by their agency to submit this request for funding and make necessary assertations and representations on the agency’s behalf.
Galveston County Engineer
722 Moody Avenue,
Texas Department of Transportation, Galveston County, City of Galveston, Texas A&M University System, Galveston County Navigation District No. 1
Pelican Island Vehicular Bridge Replacement
Pelican Island Bridge (Herbert E. Schmidt Causeway) Seawolf Parkway
New alignment from SH 275 (Harborside Drive) to Seawolf Parkway (1.98 miles)
The Pelican Island Causeway is the only roadway access to Pelican Island. Located in Galveston County, Texas, the Pelican Island Causeway was constructed between 1955 and 1957 and opened to the public in 1958. It is a bascule-type drawbridge, which uses a truss supporting an open deck that can be raised to an incline or vertical position, allowing vessels to pass. The existing two-lane roadway typical section lacks the capacity for current and future traffic flow, has a cross section that is inadequate by today’s standards, and does not accommodate pedestrian or bicycle traffic. In addition, the bridge currently is load-posted, forcing heavy loads going in and out of the island to be moved by barge instead of truck or not transported at all. Drawbridge operations during vessel passage cause significant vehicular traffic delays including delaying access by first-responders to Pelican Island emergencies. There are no police or fire stations on Pelican Island. Furthermore, over the last twenty years, extensive external deterioration of the bridge, its systems, and its foundations, including support pier corrosion and scour, has been documented. Current TxDOT inspection ratings indicate a sufficiency rating classifying the bridge as “structurally deficient” indicating that the structure is in poor condition and warrants replacement. These ongoing issues create traffic, capacity, operational, and safety concerns. Replacing the Pelican Island Bridge would ensure that reliable access to Pelican Island is maintained and economic development is encouraged, outdated and substandard roadway, pedestrian, and cyclist design features are eliminated, high ongoing annual maintenance, rehabilitation, and repair costs are significantly reduced, and the existing load posted structure limiting heavy truck access is eliminated.
The project is to provide a new concrete clear span bridge structure, connecting roadways, and bridge deck with four traffic lanes utilizing a 45-mph geometric design speed for a WB-67 (18 wheel tractor-trailer unit) design vehicle to provide a 300-foot clear span ‘segmental’ bridge structure with a 75-year design service life over the Galveston Port Channel. The project described is known as ‘Option 4’ (see attached map) in public meeting documents and in the completed Preliminary Engineering Report prepared as part of the ongoing bridge development efforts funded by Galveston County. Through public meetings, stakeholder workshops and other individual meetings Option 4 was determined to be the locally preferred alternative. This option consists of a new bridge parallel to and west of the existing drawbridge (bascule) causeway with 3.75% upgrade (approach) and downgrade (departure) slopes to accommodate passenger vehicles, commercial truck traffic, pedestrians, and bicyclists. On its south end the project will begin with modification of the current intersection of Pelican causeway with Harborside Drive (SH275) to accommodate 4 traffic lane and appropriate turns. Proceeding north it will parallel the existing bridge to its west until reaching the Pelican Island shoreline. At that point it will diverge significantly more to the west on a new alignment to skirt the TAMUG campus rather than the current alignment through the campus. The alignment then curves eastward crossing the boundary between the TAMUG campus and Port of Houston Authority (PHA) property and proceeds eastward parallel to the common boundary with the new roadway being solely located on PHA property. Then the alignment turns southward to connect at a perpendicular signalized intersection with the existing Seawolf Parkway 350 feet east of the campus near Texas Clipper Road. The Option 4 roadway length is approximately 6,350 feet and the bridge length is approximately 4,100 feet for a total project length, between Harborside Dr. and Seawolf Parkway/Texas Clipper Road vicinity, of 10,450 feet (1.98 miles). The main span bridge support columns will be placed approximately 150 feet away from the centerline of the existing Galveston Port Channel on each side thereby creating a 300-foot horizontal navigation window with a vertical window of 75 feet(Mean High Tide) clearance thereby creating a much larger navigation window for vessels than the one that currently exists. A segmental bridge construction method will be used to achieve this span. The cross section will be 62 feet wide with pedestrian and vehicular railings on each side, two 15-foot-wide outside lanes (one in each direction) that can accommodate shared bicyclist use, two 12-foot-wide inside lanes (one in each direction) and a raised 6-foot-wide sidewalk on one side adjacent to the pedestrian bridge railing. See attached Preliminary Engineering Report.
Replace the current structure which is beyond its useful life. Eliminate outdated and substandard design features. Eliminate excessive ongoing annual maintenance, rehabilitation, and repair costs. Provide reliable and secure pedestrian and bicycle access across the bridge. Accommodate full standard weight future heavy truck traffic and provide added vehicular capacity to accommodate overall traffic growth. Enhance the environmental conditions along the new alignment. Reduce air pollution due to idling traffic. Support economic growth and development for existing businesses on the island along with new industries. Accommodate TAMU Galveston’s 3,000 student enrollment growth plan. Improve emergency vehicle access. Reduce maintenance costs. A new bridge would bring immediate and long-term benefits to several businesses servicing the maritime and oil and gas industries, including Southwest Shipyard, Laredo Construction, Gulf Copper Dry Dock and Rig Repair, AET Offshore Services, Tiger Offshore Rental, and G&H Towing, among others. A wider, non-load posted, clear span bridge that allows heavy truck access is vital to future development and economic growth for these and future businesses on Pelican Island. With improved access in place, Port of Houston and Port of Galveston would be able to maximize development of the significant amount of unused property each own on Pelican Island. A supplemental BCA (attached) was completed for this project and shared with H-GAC staff in early 2018. The BCA reviewed safety, state of good repair, economic, and sustainability-oriented benefits. The BCA alternative consistent with this application is termed “Build B.” The result for Option 4 would not differ from that analysis. The benefit yield for Build B is estimated at $228.4M. This presents a BCA of approximately 12.6 comparing the total project cost with the $18,000,000 requested in this application.
0912-73-213 (M.O. #115291 Aug. 2018)
Less than $100 million
(Maintain) Roadway/Freight Rehabilitation/Reconstruction
View Uploaded File: 3 - Galveston County Support & Local Match.zip
Categorical Exclusion (CE)
D-List Open Ended CE
1 private, 5 public easements
None (2 MOU’s currently executed for 2 easements)
View Uploaded File: 6 - Utility Map from PER 20180126.pdf
View Uploaded File: 1 - MOU County-City and PHA.zip
View Uploaded File: 4 - PIB Cost Estimate and Timeline.zip
Galveston County has been working to advance this project for over four years and spent in excess of $2,000,000 to create significant documentation, interagency agreements, public information, engineering drawings/analyses/reports, environmental analyses, coordination with permitting agencies, and gathering together the funding required to make this desperately needed improvement a reality. In this section the major components of that effort are described. The Galveston County Rural Rail Transportation District (GCRRTD) initiated a feasibility analysis in June 2014 to assess purpose, need and cost to reestablish freight rail access and to improve and expand vehicular access to Pelican Island. Contracted consultants performed vehicular and rail bridge analyses, environmental/regulatory, ROW acquisition, utility investigations, market, financial, economic impact, benefit/cost and next steps analyses. A comprehensive feasibility study and report was delivered to GCRRTD 11/2015. (attached) This led to the county’s decision to delay rail implementation but to wholeheartedly pursue replacement of the existing, failing vehicular bridge. To ensure that new access points to both ends of the future bridge would be available, Galveston County negotiated and executed Memorandums of Understanding (MOU’s) between the County and the City of Galveston (11/15) and the Port of Houston Authority (4/16) that secured approach roadway easements necessary for successful project development between Galveston and Pelican Islands. Required ROW from 4 other owners is described and mapped in the PER. The results of the feasibility study & successful MOU’s prompted Galveston County Commissioners Court to procure (to TxDOT standards) consultants (Pelican Island Bridge Team-PIB) on 9/13/16 to assist the County Engineer in further project development activity resulting in a 30% preliminary engineering report including plans and cost estimates. Additional work included environmental investigations and initial contacts with resource agencies for needed permits for replacement of the existing bascule bridge with a new clear span bridge to Pelican Island. That contract was budgeted at $2 million in county funds over two fiscal years The PIB team conducted a Pre-application meeting with US Army Corps of Engineers (12/14/16) and a Joint Evaluation Meeting (JEM) with all required federal and state regulatory agencies at USACE Galveston (3/8/17). Results of the JEM allowed the PIB Team to initiate all necessary environmental studies and documentation through the PER, prior to permitting. Although submitted early in 2018, the final PER was transmitted on 9/25/18. (see environmental and public involvement documentation appendices to PER) A bridge planning, environmental, route assessment and design engineering stakeholder workshop and a public meeting were held on 7/27/17 and 9/13/17 respectively. These meeting summary reports are in PER Appendix N (Public Meeting Summary Report). Numerous individual open meetings and workshops were held with Galveston County Commissioners Court, Galveston City Council, Texas A&M University System Chancellor, Texas A&M University at Galveston officials, Galveston County Navigation District No. 1 board of directors, Port of Houston Authority officials, Texas General Land Office, Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, United States Coast Guard Regulatory branch, United States Army Corps of Engineers Galveston, US Fish & Wildlife Service, Texas Commission on Environment Quality, Texas Historical Commission, State Senate and House representatives, Texas Congressional Delegation, HGAC, TxDOT Commissioners, TxDOT District & Division offices along with federally required Meetings with Affected Property Owners and other interested private and commercial entities between June 2016 and the present. The PIB consultant completed 30% Preliminary Engineering (PE) and a final PER that includes planning, environmental/regulatory, schematic design, preliminary bridge and route layouts, bridge type recommendations, financial and timeline analysis, cost estimates, hydrodynamic analysis, vessel impact study, survey control, geotechnical and drainage reports, site photos, project mapping, existing bridge and utility ‘as-built’ plans documentation along with a new detailed traffic impact analysis using Synchro 9.0. The final PER contract deliverable was presented to the county on September 25, 2018 after several months of detailed review and is attached. A TxDOT Advanced Funding Agreement (AFA) was drafted 9/18 (attached). Execution is awaiting the full and final local funding commitments that include this application and a MOU among local sponsor partners currently being negotiated and finalized. TIP selection of this project will allow continuance of the current project development phase through AFA execution, resource agency permitting, final 100% PS&E, construction issuance documents, contract letting and bridge construction. Although this request for funding through the TIP is for $18,000,000 which with local match of $4,500,000 totals $22,500,000 it is only one component of the funding plan needed to complete the bridge replacement project. A part of the County’s efforts to advance and make this project ready for implementation, has been the funding commitments needed to reach the needed total resources. The TxDOT Houston District has budgeted $45,000,000 from Category 6 Off-System Bridge Replacement funds toward this project. The City of Galveston is budgeting 5,000,000. TAMUS $8,000,000 and Galveston County Navigation District $10,000,000 (for demolition) Although all of these commitments will not be official until the aforementioned AFA is executed in 2019, all parties are in agreement (as noted in the attached support letters) that replacement of the current bridge in the shortest timeframe is essential to safety, well-being, and economic development of its service area.
View Uploaded File: GALCO-Pelican TIP Readiness Materials.zip
View Uploaded File: PIB-Option4 TIP map.pdf
View Uploaded File: PEL project-budget-worksheet.xlsx
View Uploaded File: GALCO Pelican Causeway_Roadway Safety-Benefits.xlsx
View Uploaded File: GALCO Pelican Causeway_delay-benefits.xlsx
View Uploaded File: GALCO Pelican Causeway_Roadway-Emissions.xlsx
View Uploaded File: GALCO Pelican Supporting files.zip
View Uploaded File: GALCO Pelican Alternative Congestion Benefit.zip
901 - 1000
The proposed structure and approach roadways will be elevated to allow a longer window of time for Pelican Island business, tourist, and resident coastal evacuation purposes during a tidal storm surge event. Both the existing and proposed structures are the only access and egress points to and from Pelican Island.
The existing drawbridge will be eliminated and replaced with a new clear span bridge that will have double the vehicular capacity and no drawbridge delay from the current two-lane facility which has no shoulders, sidewalks or bike accommodations. The new expanded structure will be a four-lane clear span bridge over the navigation channel with a 6-foot sidewalk and a dedicated 15-foot shared bike path with the curb lane in each direction. A multimodal improved facility with higher capacity will no longer have travel time delays associated with the drawbridge openings and closures. The existing municipal transit system will benefit by having more reliable and predictable headways with the elimination of drawbridge associated delays. Currently, frequent but unscheduled road closures due to passing vessel traffic (about 7 times per day) introduces unpredictable delay of unknown duration to the Island Transit bus route serving the Texas A&M Galveston campus. Annual bridge opening logs maintained by the bridge operator (Galveston County Navigation District No. 1) indicate travel delays associated with over 2,500 drawbridge openings with an average travel time delay of 10 minutes.
The project is included in The Galveston County Rural Rail Transportation District ‘Pelican Island Rail and Vehicular Access Feasibility Study, September 2015.’ The project was included in the 2017 Galveston County Capital Improvement Bond issue that included $5 million for the Pelican Island Bridge Replacement and Capacity Increase Project as noted in the Galveston County Commissioners’ Court Resolution dated Oct. 22, 2018. Also, the project study was noted in the Texas A&M Transportation Institute ‘Rural Rail Transportation Districts (RRTDs) Update Report – June 2013’ to the TxDOT Rail Division (RRD)
The 2015 study is included in the application Readiness Materials, as is the Commissioners’ Court Resolution. The RRD report is located here: https://ftp.dot.state.tx.us/pub/txdot-info/rail/rural/rrtd-update.pdf (pg. 9, 39-40)
View Uploaded File: Pelican Local Freight Corridor justification.docx
Houston-Galveston Area Council