TX - Army Corps Releases Final $29 Billion ‘Ike Dike’ Study For Congressional Approval
Plans to build a coastal storm barrier have been in the works since Hurricane Ike devastated Galveston in 2008. Now, the project is taking another crucial step forward.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released Friday its final study of a nearly $29 billion proposal to protect the Texas Gulf Coast from hurricanes and storm surge.
Plans to build a coastal storm barrier — also known as the "Ike Dike" — have been in the works since Hurricane Ike devastated Galveston in 2008.
"The impacts from Hurricane Ike, which peaked at a 20 plus foot storm surge along the Texas coast, really created the impetus for action," said Col. Timothy Vail, the District Commander for the US Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District. "We don’t want to have to wait for another storm to start providing the level of protection that we need along the Texas coast."
The Army Corps' proposed project includes strategies for protecting the entire Texas Gulf Coast, spanning from beach restoration on South Padre Island to improving the seawall in Galveston.
The project's main component is a massive gate system between Galveston Island and Bolivar Peninsula that would block storm surge from coming into the bay. This would include two, 650-foot wide surge gates at the mouth of Galveston Bay, each one reaching 22 feet high.
Vail said the gates could be prioritized and implemented first due to the immediate benefits they would provide.
"The gate structure allows the rest of the components of the projects to reach their maximum effectiveness, and building the gate structure allows us to obtain benefits as soon as the gate structures are in place," he said.
Vail added that the gates wouldn't be enough protection on their own and that the entire project “needs to be delivered because it’s all integrated.”
In the Galveston area, another key component includes constructing 43 miles of beach and dunes on the Bolivar Peninsula and West Galveston Island. The dunes would extend 14-feet tall on the landward side and 12-feet tall on the Gulf side, acting as an additional barrier against storm surge.