The Baytown Sun from Baytown, Texas on September 21, 1953 · Page 38
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The Baytown Sun from Baytown, Texas · Page 38

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Baytown, Texas
Issue Date:
Monday, September 21, 1953
Page:
Page 38
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fHE BAYTOWN SUN, TUNNEL - : . -S ' : .v;4j. G| m • . tf •;'*> : s 1 4 ; :i • •* ' -i *. •41 fl a s * * • K FOR TUBES—While Consolidated Steel worked on fabricating the steel tubes at Orange, W* « work on «« tunnel trenches at Blackwelt peninsula. This picture is a v,ew south^ across channel. The dredge Miami is working on the ride slopes of the tunnel trench at Blackwell and the. dredge Windham, in background, is dredging tunnel trench across the sh lp channel. ON HAND—Tube A arrived at the tunnel site on May 28, and was moored on Spillman Island while Brown and Root tunnel crews prepared for the first phase of tunnel work. GIANT TURK—Tube A. shortly after arriving from Orange, looks Hk e a giatit tube ol toothpaste «» •welders K« 1° work on its interior. <* GOING DOWN—The tlrrdcc Temple 5s cleaning silt from 1he tunnel trench between the foundation °°" of Tube A and the ship channel while the foundation course is being placed and screened on Oct. 17. 1950. ^Market Street Road els Vital Thoroughfare Market Street Road, one of the ".most heavily traveled thoroughfares in East Harris county, cost $1,052,848.68 to construct. The road leads out of Baytown 7" to connect with the Old Spanish Trail near Port Houston and at Crosby, traveling through Highlands. It was built from funds provided in the 1925 bond issue and was opened late in 1928. Tubes Inspected While Being Built State highway orficlals and builders of the Baytown-La Porte Tunnel took a look at construction of the steel tubes used in the underwater crossing of the channel on March 30, 1951. The contract for fabrication of the nine tubes was held by U. S. Steel and the first completed tube left about the middle of May. A. C. Keyser, assistant district engineer of Houston, and P. Cald- weil, resident engineer of the State Highway department in the Houston area, made the inspection trip along with W. H. Bruce Jr., then resident engineer for the New York designers, and Nelson McElroy, manager of the Baytown Chamber of Commerce. of Oil The Baytown area produced 453.000 barrels daily of oil in 1948, which was IS per cent of the Texas production and eight per cent of the total for the United States. Baytown-La Porte Tunnel Project Hit Final Phase In '52 The final phase of the three-year Baytown-La Porte Tunnel project was entered on Aug. 30, 1952, as Fransworth and Chambers crews were "pourm' it on—and in—at the tunnel site. The crews had fought their way out of the trenches—almost. The big portal pour hal already besn made on the south, 'La Porte side of the channel and on the Baytown side they had started pouring the concrete slab for the roadway leading toward Black Duck bay. Some foundation work had also been started at the north porta. where the ventilation building and power plant is located. Tile-setters were at work then setting the 1,332,000 tiles on the walls of the big tube. And work was started very shortlv on the access roads. Included are the three-level Interchange on the La. Porte side which connects Highways 146 and 225, Spur 201 which heads due north from the Tunnel to West Main in Baytown, Highway 146 leading northwest by way of a two-level traffic interchange, a bridge over Goose Creek and a new highway entrance skirting the southern rim of the city. Highway Group Doesn't Officially Name Any Project The Highway department does not officially name any section of its highway system. Members of the Highway o>m- mission made this clear in 1&9 when Nelson McElroy, manager of the Baytown Chamber of Commerce, "inquired concerning the name policy after County Commissioners named the Pasadena Tunnel after County Auditor Washburn. D. C. Greer, State Highway engineer, wrote McElroy a letter on April 30, 1949, that the commissioners directed him to advise that the Highway department does not officially name any section of its system. "Quite often," Greer wrote, "localities connect some name with parts of our system, which of course is perfectly satisfactory. All of our operations are carried on by numbers. "In. answer to your direct question, we have no plans to either name or rename thi» tunnel. 'I think it is generally called the Baytown Tunnel by those dealing wth the matter although that is not official from this department." The Chambers of Commerce of Baytown and La Porte agreed on naming the tunnel th« B»ytown- I/a Porte Tunnel. Final Tunnel Link Okayed July, 1952 The last links In the overall Baytown-La Porte tunnel plan had been approved by the State Highway commission July 24, 1952. The commission okayed construction of Spur 201 going north from the tunnel mouth to connect with West Main and the new- route of 146 swinging south around South Baytown to the tunnel. All other approach roads had already been approved by the time the spur and rerouting plans wore approved. Spur 201 is a straight- line road 1.6 miles in length. The spur and 146 will intersect at a traffic circle. Farnsworth and Chambers, the construction firm which completed the tunnel itself, built the approach roads on the south side, including the three-level traffic interchange. The Houston firm submitted a low bid of $667,302 on the project- State Was Neutral On Bridge Question When the State Highway commission made the Baytown-La Porte Tunnel grant, it was specified that the money was available for either a bridge or a tunnel. The commissioners pointed out that the department's only obligation to the motoring public is to enable a car to get from one side of the channel to the other. It was estimated in 1946 that a bridge could be erected for about $5 million with practically no maintenance cost, while the tunnel would cost nearly double that, with $80,000 a year in maintenance cost Tunnel Milestone Passed Dec., 1951 One of the milestones of the Baytown-La Porte Tunnel was passed on Dec. 6, 1951, when Brown and Root, general contractors on the first phase of the job, had completed their assignment and prepared to move out. The Farnsworth and Chambers Co., which completed the job, was ready to move in then and the second job was set up to be completed in 530 working days. The New York engineering firm of Parsons, Brincke'rhoff, Hall and Macdonald supervised the work. Vehicle Registration in Area Helps State The four counties in the Baytown area remitted to the Texas Highway fund more than one- fifth of the total received from the entire state, from motor vehicle registration. Harris, Jefferson, Drang* and Chamber* remitted about S6 million while the total from the state was approximately $25 million. This view of The Baytown-La Porte Tunnel was taken on March 11,1952. It shows the result of our tremendous excavation work 45 feet below water level. As shown, the portals of the tunnel on both the La Porte and Baytown sides were constructed on dry land, with the terrific water pressure being successfully controlled by Acme Wellpoint Corp. of Monroe, La. The deep excavation necessary for the construction of the portals was done by Associated Contractors, Inc., also of Monroe, Louisiana. t t AND WE TAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO TELL EVERYONE WE'RE PROUD TO HAVE HELPED BUILD YOUR TUNNEL MONROE, LOUISIANA ACME WELLPOINT CORP. MONROE, LOUISIANA

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