Sneaking a Peek at the Big Walls, Big Gates Army Corps Could Propose for the Coast Later This Month

SNEAKING A PEEK AT THE BIG WALLS, BIG GATES ARMY CORPS COULD PROPOSE FOR THE COAST LATER THIS MONTH On October 26, the agency will single out one of the 4 big proposals it’s been pondering for the Texas coast as the chosen one, reports the Texas Tribune’s Kiah Collier. One of them “calls for the construction of a 17-foot-high levee along the entirety of Galveston Island,” as well as Bolivar Peninsula. Ring any bells? It’s the so-called Ike Dike (also known as the “coastal spine”) that A&M scientists dreamed up about a decade ago in response to the disaster and hypothetically-even-worse disaster that could’ve occurred if Ike had struck 30 miles further west. Another defense against that doomsday scenario that could make it into the proposal: a giant gate structure adapted from Rice’s Jim Blackburn and Philip Bedient’s 2011 idea for a mechanism that’d close before storms to block surge. (They wanted to put it just upstream from the Fred Hartman Bridge; the Corps has number of different spots in mind.) All the plans in the running include a so-called ring levee around Galveston’s bay side to protect it from reverse storm surge, a helping of smaller levees and gates, upgrades to existing flood control structures, and ecosystem restoration projects geared toward creating natural floodwater-fighting barriers. [Texas Tribune; previously on Swamplot] Map indicating proposed Alternative A plan: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

9 Comment

  • Bring in the Dutch . DOOMED Army Corp of Engineers /Federal / State /County /City boondoggle wasteful project that does NOT address the causes of flooding in this region. And these government agencies NEED to bring the Dutch engineering/construction techniques(which have WORKED for over 50+ years). These government agencies are the same one’s who built Addicks & Barker dams , channelized & RUINED Brays Bayou, etc. They all have FAILED, are failing, are dangerously OUTDATED and do NOT address 21st century demands on the interconnected infrastructure!!!

  • @Happy, the Dutch have been consultants in various aspects of flood control here for quite some time.

  • @HappyGoLucky I challenge you to consider how worse this city would be without those “FAILED” projects. Addicks & Barker have not failed us… And Harvey was such an extraordinary event and they still held together and had to release their water because they had reached their limits. Can you imagine two lakes the size of Addicks & Barker flowing into downtown? Buildings would be decimated.

    Next, can you imagine the bayous without channelization? Again, the flooding would be even worse because it would take longer for the water to empty out into the ocean. Even though we hate looking at concrete bayous, they help push the water out quicker.

    I just feel like we can’t build anything nowadays because “the experts” on social media comments section are always the loudest ones and so nothing ever gets done because of all the unnecessary backlash. If people have such great ideas, go present them to the Army Corp of Engineers. We wouldn’t have any infrastructure in this country if the pessimists controlled it all.

  • Happy Go Lucky,

    This plan is very similar to the new system that is working quite well around the New Orleans area. Dutch engineers consulted on much of the project with the Corps. The USACE don’t half ass any of their projects and often over engineer them.

  • Then you vastly overestimate the influence of social media comments, and vastly underestimate the influence of well-funded special interest groups.

  • @parksfan, that’s fair. Then what do you propose the alternative be?

  • Wait, wait a region predominently ruled from county to county by conservative Republicans that’s seeking billions in handouts from the feds for a “dike”?? Shouldn’t the filthy rich petrochemical companies and the population which chooses to reside in a now notoriously known flood prone area be paying for this project themselves?

  • @ Eldorado Ed: I’d be all for local financing, but only if every other place in the United States is held to the same standard. They aren’t. So I don’t care if a Texas congressman is Republican or Democrat or even if they’re only just from the Texas panhandle and share loosely in the State’s tax base; we’re all in the same boat and we should all want a bigger share of the federal budget. Yes, even if it is wastefully spent. I mean, ideally we would want it not to be wasteful. We should hope for that. But federal waste in Texas is better for us than federal waste in Idaho or Delaware, et al.

  • Triton, going forward the ACOE should be able to repel attempts by developers to build in the floodplains, for example. Taking a step back, it’s true that these infrastructure projects look impressive and naysayers on comment boards will not be the squeaky wheels that get the grease. Yet there is arguably no point in building these structures (such as dams) if well-funded narrow interests are allowed to capitalize on them for short-term profit in ways that are literally designed to fail. No, I don’t know how any developer(s) will be able to cash in on ring levees and giant gates. But I don’t put it past them to try, and if history is any indication if they try they will succeed…