Proposal on Bolivar Tunnel failed with offer of Free Ferry Service

ferry_1940Once there was a proposal to build a combination bridge and tunnel across Bolivar roads. The proposal, which would have linked the Island with Bolivar Peninsula, would have cost $14 million at the time. But when it was submitted to a vote in 1947, taxpayers had a choice of a tunnel or another ferryboat. The way it was put was that if they voted for another ferryboat, a 25 cents charge would be removed, and the ferry would be free.

The proposal was for a 2400 ft. long tunnel beginning on Galveston in the old Fort San Jacinto Military Reservation, heading across the roads with the top outside surface of the tunnel being 40 feet below the surface of the water. The tunnel would have emerged at a 150 by 1000 foot island, and a concrete causeway would have carried traffic from that point to shore on the peninsula in the vicinity of Fort Travis. The roadway would have been 24 feet wide. The tunnel would have been 34 feet in diameter, and also would have had a 24-foot roadway.

When voters opted for the free ferry and killed the tunnel proposal, they killed plans for the tunnel which had been underway since 1941, and which had been interrupted by World War II. Completion of the San Luis Pass-Vacek bridge, has increased the pressure for a crossing for Bolivar Roads.

The same engineering firm – Howard, Needlles, Tammen and Bergendoff, of Kansas City, MO, is studying the problem. They are expected to have a study completed in 10 or 12 months, County Commissioner Jimmie Vacek says. But rough estimates for the cost have gone up. There are estimates now that the cost would be between $50 and $65 million.

(Galveston News, August 10, 1966)

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