Six blocks of Market Street are closed to westbound traffic for installation of underground utilities at UTMB. The closure is expected to last about 14 months.

The traffic restrictions are in effect between Sixth and 12th streets (see map). Eastbound traffic lanes and access to driveways along the street—including those leading to John Sealy Hospital and the Ninth Street traffic circle—will not be affected. However, large trucks will be using the eastbound lanes of Market Street periodically to haul away debris from the excavation sites. Drivers are encouraged to use alternative routes to reach numbered cross streets that lead into campus. Signs will soon be posted at Island Transit stops along the affected section of Market Street, informing riders of new stops during the construction.

The Market Street closure will allow crews to install underground high-temperature water lines. The water lines are part of a phased project to replace the less-efficient underground steam pipes, which supply heating systems in buildings. Flooding from Hurricane Ike in 2008 damaged the pipes. The new system is designed to be more resilient and to preserve mission-critical education, research and patient care operations on the Galveston campus in the event of a major disruption to city utilities.

Excavators will use directional boring equipment to minimize the need for trenches. The bore digs in a horizontal direction under the ground’s surface. The project is scheduled for completion in May 2014.