SABINE PASS —
‘We have to mobilize’
“That road” is Highway 87, a transportation route between Sabine Pass and High Island. Maps from as far back as 1863 showed a “Road to Galveston” along the shoreline southwest of Sabine Pass. Over the years, the beach road repeatedly sustained damage from various storms. But it was Hurricane Jerry that put the final nail in the Highway 87 coffin. Since the Category 1 storm made landfall in October 1989, the Beach Road has been closed indefinitely, left to deteriorate against the Gulf of Mexico’s tidal zone.
No one feels the frustration of McFaddin Beach more than Michael “Shane” Sinegal, Jefferson County Precinct 3 Commissioner. He has fought to improve the beach since his election in 2008, but has been continually thwarted by a dearth of funds and manpower.
The beach itself is owned by the state, Sinegal said, and serious budget cuts at the state level forced the funding onto the back of the county. For some time, the beach’s primary source of funding was the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), but those funds have since been discontinued.
“The biggest issue with us maintaining the beach is that we have to mobilize,” Sinegal said. “And my hands are tied with the manpower I have just to maintain the county.”
Sinegal knows the most viable solution is to reopen Highway 87, and he is channeling all his spare energy into keeping that issue at the forefront of the county’s minds.
“When you have traffic, you have a need for funding,” he said. “I live for the day I can drive from Galveston through Sabine Pass.”
Several entities have expressed interest in making Highway 87 a reality, including Port Arthur contractor Cherokee Development, LIHEAP Engineering and the Jefferson County Department of Engineering, but Sinegal said there was trouble getting all of them to the table at the same time.