By Allan Jamail
San Jacinto College – Central Campus, Pasadena, Texas – Wednesday, May 15, 2019 – Adrian Garcia, Precinct 2 Harris County Commissioner sponsored a meeting to inform and obtain feedback from the communities from Galveston to Houston on the newest studies and proposals for Hurricane protection.
There were two separate plans presented, one long term plan by the US Army Corps of Engineers costing from $23 to $32 billion. This plan is presently in the Study Phase, once the study is completed in about 2021 Congress then must approve the funding for the Design Phase which will take 4 or 5 years. The Construction Phase could start in about 2025 if Congress approves the funding. The construction is estimated to take 10 to 15 years with completion in year’s 2035 to 2040.
The second plan was explained by Engineer Jim Blackburn representing Rice University’s Severe Storm Prediction, Education & Evacuation from Disasters (SSPEED) Center, Charlie Penland, of Walter P. Moore Engineering and Robert M. Rogers, of Rogers Partners.
Blackburn said their plan named the Galveston Bay Park Plan is different from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plan to build 71 miles of barriers along the Texas coast and instead their proposal is for a 25-foot-high wall running across Galveston Bay and barrier islands. He said construction could start almost immediately and completed by year 2027 with a total cost of $3 to $5 billion.
Blackburn wants to use the current dredging spoils from deepening and widening the Houston Ship Channel to build-up land barriers islands along the storm surge routes to lessen flooding inland from Galveston to Houston.