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$31 Billion Hurricane Protection Plan Proposed for Texas
"Following years of research, studies and public debate, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers — in partnership with the state’s General Land Office — has recommended a multi-billion-dollar project that would protect the Houston area and its massive industrial complex from hurricane storm surge," reports Kiah Collier.
The Army Corps selected a final plan from four alternative proposals [pdf], with varying configurations of levees, seawalls, and locks, according to Collier, settling on a plan originally called the Ike Dike, but now called the "coastal spine."
The sweeping plan calls for the construction of a levee along Galveston Island and the peninsula to its north, Bolivar, as well as the installation of a gate between the two isles to keep storm surge from pouring between them into Galveston Bay and the Port of Houston. It also includes improvements to Galveston's existing seawall and a “ring levee” around the heart of the city. Such a structure would protect the backside of the most densely populated area from surge and flood waters retreating to the Gulf of Mexico following a storm.
The Army Corps "also identified extensive 'non-structural improvements' — such as beach renourishment and dune restoration — for much of the Texas coast," adds Collier.