Port of Port Arthur details flyover project, plans more city outreach

Published 12:26 am Friday, May 24, 2024

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A group of residents from a section of the city’s West Side is hoping for better communication with the Port of Port Arthur and city leaders regarding an upcoming project to construct a flyover in the area.

Angela Linton, Mary Lathan and Trinette Rose recently went before the Port Arthur City Council to say there is a lack of information, misinformation and a total disregard for their opinions and presence regarding the project and how it would potentially impact the 12 blocks of homes south of West 7th Street.

Even so, the group “does not oppose any progress that may result from the construction of the flyover,” Lathan said.

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They do however object to the fact the government did not reach out to them with their decision to move forward with the project, she said.

The group also feels city leaders had a responsibility to inform the citizens.

The flyover or elevated roadway would allow ingress and egress to the Port, even when trains are rolling through the property, and later when the city’s levee system is upgraded and raised.

The Port of Port Arthur is planning to invest $24 million in the Westside of Port Arthur through the Westside Flyover Project, Port of Port Arthur Director/CEO Larry Kelley said.

“This investment is tied to historic funding from the Texas Legislature and will enhance safety and connectivity,” Kelley said. “The investment will serve as a catalyst for local job creation and economic development in the community.”

Following the announcement by the Texas Department of Transportation and the governor’s office, the Port held three public outreach sessions at the West Side Development Center in December.

Kelley said over these sessions, Port officials and staff met with approximately 50 people.

The purpose was to introduce residents to various port infrastructure investments, including the Westside Flyover Project.

The port provided conceptual, as well as a Project simulation.

The Project was also widely recognized by local media at an event held Dec. 18, which was well attended by federal, state and local government officials, and Port representatives from Southeast Texas, Kelley said.

According to Kelley, there are going to be additional outreach sessions in the future.

Design for the project is expected to be completed in 2025, with construction to begin in late 2025 or early 2026.

More than one-third of the approximately 2,400 feet-long project is located inside Port property. Another third is the “fly over” of the rail tracks and the levee system.

The final part, or landing, is near Denbo Avenue, adjacent to where Port Iron was once located on the West Side of the city.

Lathan wonders if the Port did any type of research before proceeding with plans for the project. More specifically, she worries about traffic derived from the Port’s expansion.

This includes street conditions, noise and possible problems accessing their property should an 18-wheeler lose control or roll over.

The group

Angela Linton said the group initially began in 2018 with concerns from women after hearing gunshots at a store on a corner of West 7th Street and Harding Avenue.

The women went before the police chief and councilmen at the time to voice their concerns. This led to a gradual reduction in drug traffic in that area, they said.

Since then the unofficial group has brought concerns to city departments on issues from unlawful trash, dumping of loose dogs, rowdy neighbors, unsightly vacant homes and other issues, Linton said.

The group holds meetings at the West Side Development Center.