Brazoria County officials, civic leaders and residents and property owners along County Road 257, the Blue Water Highway, turned out Monday afternoon for a ribbon cutting ceremony at the entrance to the Key Largo subdivision to celebrate restoration of the highway, a $3.5 million project.
"There were 2.3 miles that was totally gone," said Brazoria County Commissioner Dude Payne, describing damage to the highway caused by Hurricane Ike. "There was nothing but water there." Listen: RealPlayer MP3
Payne said another 5.8 miles suffered major damage from the hurricane, making it difficult even for construction workers.
"We were actually going through two people's yards after Ike," Payne said.
Payne said restoring the highway for traffic included the efforts of county road crews, the Texas General Land Office, consulting services of Coastal Harbor Engineering and Klotz Associates, and grants through FEMA and the Federal Highway Administration program.
Future work on the project will include protection of the road.
"It's about $28 million, what we have an estimate for a protection wall," Payne said. "The problem we've got now is we have no beach. We lost five foot of beach and now when it is high tide the water is right to the road."
Payne said that projects to nourish the beach and restore dunes are also being discussed by the GLO and the Texas Legislature.