EIS Cooperating Agencies:
For More Information Contact:
Donald M. Rao
SH 87 ENVIRONMENTAL STUDY - JEFFERSON COUNTY
Background - State Highway 87 between Sabine Pass and High Island, locally known as "the beach road," has existed as a transportation route for more than a century. As far back as 1863, a Civil War map showed a "Road to Galveston" along the shoreline southwest of Sabine Pass. Since then, the road has been damaged by storms and repaired many times.
Hurricane Jerry damaged the road in October 1989 at which time the road was closed indefinitely. Currently, large portions of the roadway are damaged and sections of the former right-of-way are within the tidal zone.
In 1990, the Texas Department of Transportation began planning for the reconstruction of SH 87 and requested that Jefferson County acquire the necessary Section 404 permit. Several public meetings and agency meetings were conducted during 1991 and 1992 to identify issues and concerns for the project. In 1997, a Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) was prepared and a Section 404 permit application was submitted to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. During the Section 404 review process, it was suggested that an EA was not adequate to address the impacts associated with the project and an Environmental Impact Statement should be prepared. The Draft EA and Section 404 permit application were withdrawn and funding was sought for the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement.
Enacted in 1998, the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century earmarked federal funding to complete the environmental documentation for reconstruction of SH 87, from Sabine Pass to the Bolivar Peninsula. On August 18, 1999, a Notice of Intent was issued by the Federal Highway Administration announcing the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement for the SH 87 project. On September 23, 1999, a public meeting was held as part of the public involvement process for the environmental study.
Environmental Impact Statement - The National Environmental Policy Act requires that an Environmental Impact Statement be prepared when potential impacts from a proposed federal action are determined to be significant. The Environmental Impact Statement for the SH 87 project will examine alternatives to the proposed action and evaluate the environmental effects of the project alternatives. Once a Draft Environmental Impact Statement is completed, a public hearing will be held and a Final Environmental Impact Statement will be prepared.
Project Purpose and Objectives - The purpose of the proposed project is to construct a roadway that replaces the transportation link between Sabine Pass and High Island that was lost when SH 87 was closed, and to improve access to the Sabine Pass area. The project objectives are: