Plan in works to allow Galv. residents home

September 19, 2008 5:02:07 PM PDT
City officials in Galveston said they are working on a plan to allow residents to return to their homes. That's good news for thousands of people who are waiting to see their homes. ROAD TO RECOVERY: Breaking news on Ike | POD locations | Person locator | Local gas station report | Hurricane guide | Viewer photos of Ike | Latest power numbers

It will be seven days or sooner before officials will allow residents back to their homes. It's an indication of the type of progress that's being made on the island.

The gridlock inching into Galveston Island stretches for several miles. The majority of the cars are filled with contractors and insurance agents.

A re-entry plan to allow residents back in starting next week is hoped to keep gridlock at a minimum. That plan is based on geographic location. Those living behind the seawall will be first, then from the end of the seawall to Jamaica Beach, with the final installment being those from Jamaica Beach to the west end.

Those re-entering will be given printed handouts to include safety precautions.

"It will be everything from road hazards to drinking water, to what to expect as far as any kind of gas service," explained Galveston City Manager Steve LeBlanc.

The city's water treatment plant is operating, but not at capacity. Officials say keeping people off the island now will prevent sewage backup.

However, once people get on the island, there is another wait. There is only one gas pump open at only one fuel station.

Resident Carol Cruz said, "We've been here for an hour and a half. But we'll get gas. That means we can drive wherever we need to go and we get to run our generator so we can have lights at night."

That's how the city says the recovery effort starts ? one pump at a time, one store at a time, one light at a time. The hope now is to bring neighbors back in seven days or sooner.

Another concern in Galveston is traffic control. LeBlanc said every nearly single street traffic sign across the entire city is gone.

"When you come up to an intersection, do you stop, do you go through it, do you look both ways? In some cases, you don't even know where you are exactly unless you are very familiar with the island," LeBlanc explained.

City crews are working to get all the signs and lights back up across the city.

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