Go inside Sabine Pass path to bigger results: road reconstruction and upgraded boat ramp

Published 12:24 am Saturday, November 11, 2023

SABINE PASS — There was a double celebration in Sabine Pass marking two major projects that officials hope set the community on the road to becoming and industrial force and a tourist and national fishing destination.

One of the projects celebrated is the reconstruction of South 1st Avenue from Granger Street to the Sabine Pass Port entrance, as well as Mechanic Street.

The Texas Department of Transportation Maritime Division’s Port Connectivity grant rider program provided the funding.

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The cost is more than $3.2 million provided by TxDOT Maritime and the Texas Legislature, according to Mark Viator, Sabine Pass Port Authority director.

The projects, he said, benefit the Sabine Pass Port authority by allowing better trucking access to the port as it grows and become more industrialized.

The second project for celebration is the reconstruction of Sabine Pass Public Boat Ramp.

A view of the newly reconstructed boat ramps in Sabine Pass. (Photo courtesy Callie Summerlin)

Viator explained hurricane storm surges and wear and tear damaged the boat ramps — located at the corner of Broadway and South First Avenue — necessitating repair.

“This project was funded by three funding sources. Texas Parks and Wildlife had a maritime fund that helped repair boat ramps impacted by Hurricane Harvey. They have dedicated $1.2 million from a fishing disaster relief grant to rebuild the ramps, construct a fish cleaning station on a slab with cover, a floating dock and walkway, as well as asphalt the parking lot with landscape,” he said.

Cheniere Energy kicked in $125,000 to the boat ramp project.

“We are proud to support the reconstruction of the pivotal boat ramp in Sabine Pass,” said Maas Hinz, vice president and plant manager at Cheniere. “This project will ensure community members have safe access to our waterways and support our local marine emergency services.”

SPPA Commissioner Ricky Keltz said the renovation of the boat ramps, work on the roads and all that is done by the Port helps the community.

Master Plan

This work is all part of a Master Plan of the Sabine Pass Port Authority to become an industrial force and a tourist and national fishing destination, Viator said.

“There’s a process to get there,” he added.

For this to happen, Sabine Pass Port Authority must take its rightful place as an industrial port to serve the lower part of the Sabine Neches Ship Channel as envisioned by the State of Texas Legislature when it was formed in 1983, according to information from the Port.

A covered area, fish cleaning station and floating dock are pictured. (Photo courtesy Callie Summerlin)

Viator said by 2027, there would be more than 4,500 ships travelling the ship channel with more than 1,500 LNG ships exporting from Cheniere, Golden Pass and Port Arthur LNG, as well as LPG.

Port leaders seeks to rebuild Texas 87 from Sea Rim to High Island for port access, which in turn provided workers access to industrial facilities that supply much to the economy of the state.

The road would also provide safety access from plant emergencies and marsh fires, adding more than one way in and out of the community.

Viator said the plan also includes providing LNG ship berths and bunkering that create jobs and staging for ships during fog season, while providing funding for tourism.

“You have to have places for people to stay. Places for people to eat and places for people to fish. They can fish Sabine Lake, offshore and the ship channel,” Viator said.

State Rep. Dade Phelan was on hand for the ribbon cutting and dedication of the roads Thursday and took to social media to talk about it, saying he is proud to stand with the Sabine Pass Port Authority and City of Port Arthur in these projects.

“Earlier this year, the Texas Legislature appropriated critical funding to support public roadway projects that would improve public safety, enhance connectivity and trucking access, and ease congestion surrounding our states’ maritime ports,” Phelan said on Facebook.

“In addition to the street projects, repairing the Sabine Pass public boat ramp has become a high priority due to the fair amount of wear and tear it has weathered from hurricanes and storm surges over the years.”

Phelan said an investment in port infrastructure is an investment in the future.