See the speed reduction on highways and road closures announced for Port Arthur

Published 12:20 am Friday, November 10, 2023

Two sections of heavily traveled roadways in Port Arthur are going to have reduced speed limits, and two separate areas are going to see road closures.

Speed limit reduction

Port Arthur City Council recently approved permanently reducing the speed limit, at the request of the Texas Department of Transportation, for a portion of U.S. 69 and Texas 87.

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According to information from TxDOT, the section of U.S. 69 in Port Arthur, north of Nederland Avenue to Texas 73 will see a reduction in speed from 75 to 70 mph.

“TxDOT found an above-average crash rate for this portion of the highway and proposes reducing the speed limit from 75 mph to 70 mph to reduce the severity and quantity of crashes,” according to information from the City of Port Arthur. “The change in speed will also extend beyond the city limits.”

This stretch of roadway was found to have an above-average crash rate that prompted the change.

The other section of roadway is Texas 87 north of the Intracoastal Canal Bridge to north of Buford Street in Sabine Pass.

The speed limit is drop from 65 to 55 mph.

TxDOT reviewed the speed zone and crash rates along Texas 87 and found reducing the speed would result in a safer environment.

Sarah Dupre with TxDOT said the new signs for the reduced speed limits are being ordered, but she does not have an estimate of when the signs will arrive.

Road abandonment/closures

As Motiva Enterprises works on renovations to the Adams Building in downtown Port Arthur, there comes the need for access to certain streets in and around the properties.

The City Council this week approved the abandonment and closures of streets and alley right-of-ways for the development of a corporate and business campus.

The land is less than two acres in size and includes a portion of Austin Avenue, Fifth Street, alley right-of-ways between 5th and 6th streets and alley right-of-way between Procter and 5th streets.

In 2017, Motiva Enterprises announced it purchased the Adams Building and Federal Building on Austin Avenue to renovate for a number of contractors and personnel.

And in 2019 came the unveiling, but the pandemic in 2020, along with market volatility, sidelined the downtown project for almost three years.

The City Council also green lit the abandonment and closure of a portion of Terminal Road.

The purpose is for safety and security hardening, said Larry Badon of Port Arthur Planning and Zoning.

The closed area is south of Gulfway Drive and north of Matthew Street and by the Terminal Road water tower.

One of the concerns that came up during discussion of the closure was the small park/playground near the site, but City Manager Ron Burton said the park is one of a number the city plans to sell.

Councilmember Willie “Bae” Lewis expressed concern about the permanent blocking of the road, which allows access from Texas 82 and the Martin Luther King Jr. Bridge to Gulfway Drive without having to go to the busy intersection at Texas 82 and Texas 87.

Lewis worries the closure is going to send traffic through neighborhoods such as on Thomas Boulevard and Grannis Avenue that will result in wear and tear on those roads due to the high amount of industry workers.

Councilmember Donald Frank also expressed concern because the traffic that comes from workers in the area could funnel into residential areas where there are children.

Ultimately, the council was unanimous in its support to authorize the closures.

Badon said he would relay the information to Motiva.

A start date for the closures has not been determined as of this week, according to information from Motiva.