BOLIVAR PENINSULA, Texas — A popular spot for fisherman on the Bolivar Peninsula is now closed.
Crews began putting up fences around Rollover Pass, near Highway 87, Monday morning.
The Texas General Land Office has been trying to begin this project for nearly a decade, citing the Pass is damaging the ecosystem and creating safety hazards.
Some community members protested the closure which resulted in one man being arrested.
Roy Hicks lives nearby and told 12News "I wish there was something else that could be done."
He's been going to Rollover Pass since he was a child.
"There's old pictures of us fishing here with my dad, I was five or six years old. It's just sad, there's no other way to say it," Hicks said.
Now, instead of fishermen lining the water it's now fences.
"My heart is really here with Gilchrist. It breaks my heart to see it really is being filled in," Crystal Beach resident Katie Coghlan said.
12News spoke with Texas General Land Office communication director Karina Erickson over the phone Monday about the change.
"It created a number of damaging side affects, including public safety. In addition, cost to Texas and U.S. taxpayers dollars to ensure that erosion doesn't continue to happen," Erickson said.
Rollover Pass was originally cut into the Bolivar Peninsula in 1955 to improve water quality and fish mitigation.
However, Erickson says the devastation of Hurricane Ike in 2008 resulted in the man-made strait causing more concerns than benefits.
The maintenance cost to keep Rollover Pass going also created problems, according to the Texas GLO.
The office said Rollover Pass cost taxpayers $600,000 a year to dredge the Gulf and Intracoastal Waterway.
Erosion, environmental damage, storm threats, and safety concerns are all issues that the Texas GLO say have been an issue at Rollover Pass for years.
This project will also look to maintain the stability of the Highway 87 bridge as flow velocity has been threatening it, according to the office.
"The State Highway 87 bridge is incredibly vulnerable to damage from hurricanes and other major storms. It is the primary hurricane evacuation route," Erickson said.
In addition to addressing these problems, construction will aim to help return and strengthen fish and oyster habitats to their natural state.
When all is said and done, the pass will be filled with sand and include a park as well as a fishing pier for the public.
Yet, many along the Bolivar Peninsula are still hesitant about this change.
"I wish them godspeed and good fortune. Hopefully, this will turn out to be for the better, I don't see how. Yet, since it's going to happen I will pray it will," Coghlan said.
Fishing will not be allowed at Rollover Pass during construction and Galveston County Sheriff's Office deputies will be on-site 24/7 to provide security.
Weather permitting, the project is expected to be finished in April 2020.