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See why Seawall is closing to vehicular traffic this week

Vehicular traffic along the seawall will cease temporarily, so preliminary work on the hurricane flood-protecting levee can commence.

The through-traffic will stop, beginning Thursday and last through Sept. 28, though patrons can still do their daily walking and exercising routines, according to information from the city of Port Arthur.

Alberto Elefano, public works director, said Tolunay-Wong Engineering will perform bore sampling in the area for soil materials along Seawall Drive.

The city’s public works department was notified by Jefferson County Drainage District No. 7 of the upcoming work.

Phil Kelley, manager at DD7, said work at the Seawall is tied to the project to upgrade the hurricane flood protection levee, which is part of the Sabine Pass to Galveston Bay project. DD7 is working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on the project as its local sponsor.

The total project is anticipated to cost $863 million and DD7’s portion — 35 percent — is in the neighborhood of $300 million.

The Sabine Pass to Galveston Bay project is made of three elements: improvements to Port Arthur and vicinity, Freeport/Valasco County drainage district and a new levee system for Orange County.

Of the three, only the Port Arthur section has a local sponsor.

Some years ago a feasibility study was completed by the Corps of Engineers projected 50 years out to anticipate sea level rise through hydrology and hydrologic modeling and determined what areas needed to be raised.

Some of the plans include raising the levee around Valero’s Sabine tank farm off Texas 87. In other areas there will be an inverted concrete T-wall to protect the area, among other project elements.