GALVESTON COUNTY, Texas – State Highway 87 is under repair from Rollover Pass to north of State Highway 124 on High Island.
For Bolivar, Caplen, Gilchrist and Crystal Beach residents, it’s one of two ways off of the peninsula.
To the west, drivers can access the ferry usually. But when storms approach or when the tide is too high or low, the ferry service is halted. In that case, drivers have to go east on 87. When the high tide is an issue and water covers the roadway, there’s no way out.
"The SH 87 project is very important to the Bolivar community. We wanted to address their concerns of high water impacting SH 87 near SH 124," Danny Perez, with the Texas Department of Transportation, said.
To address the concerns, in May 2018, crews decided to raise the elevation of the roadway by 2.5 feet with an asphalt overlay. They are also realigning the southern curve of State Highway 124 and reconfiguring the northern curve at SH 124 for two-way traffic. This will allow for evacuations should a notice be sent out during hurricane season and beyond.
"For people along the coast, they are accustomed to monitoring high tide because it happens every day, twice a day," KPRC 2 meteorologist Britta Merwin said.
Storms aren’t necessary to cause issues on the roadway. Sometimes it’s heavy winds or a disturbance pushing into the Gulf that causes the water to rise and eventually go over the roadway. Typically, TxDOT would have to close the road to keep people off of it and out of danger, especially at night when visibility is reduced.
"It was a safety issue, and we believe it will help during times of high tide and allow for safe passage during weather events,” Perez said.
The project is 71% complete and is anticipated to be completed by December.