Boca Chica Beach, highway to close for SpaceX testing

In this file photo, Cameron County Sheriff Department units drive along Texas State Highway 4 making sure motorist clear the road during a road block Thursday at Boca Chica Beach as SpaceX test their Starship Hopper single Raptor engine.

Highway 4 headed to Boca Chica Beach will be temporarily closed on Monday, May 11 for SpaceX testing of its newest rocket.

Cameron County Judge Eddie Trevino Jr. ordered the closure of Boca Chica Beach, plus Highway 4 from FM 1417 (Oklahoma Avenue) to the entrance of the beach.

“I have ordered the closure of Boca Chica Beach and Highway 4 for the purpose of protecting public health and safety during SpaceX testing on May 11, 2020, in the time period between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. of the same day, and in the alternative on May 12, 2020, and/or May 13, 2020, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. of the same day,” Trevino said in a news release. “Should SpaceX should not complete its test launch activities on May 11, 2020, then SpaceX may use an alternate to complete its test launch activities.”

The county judge said SpaceX will set up a safety zone perimeter that will include two temporary checkpoints on Highway 4. Anyone who lives in the area will be allowed to go through the soft checkpoint and gain access to their property during testing.

But he said no one will be allowed to go through the hard checkpoint to the beach during the closures. Trevino said anyone wanting to visit a beach can still access any of the county’s other beaches.