The column by the Three Musketeers (“Making a coastal barrier system happen,” The Daily News, Aug. 11) brings up an important issue we must all face now. What amazes me is the way we continue to waste time debating this subject while that the last thing in the world we have is time.

What do you think would have happened if our city and community leaders would have dragged their feet after The 1900 Storm almost took out our entire city?

It was because Galveston had the can-do spirit — a sense of let’s get this done now — that we have the Seawall. Yes, it was an engineering marvel. It cost an incredible amount of money. It took a lot of hard work. But together — the key word is “together” — they got it done.

It is true that a coastal barrier will cost billions but, as has been pointed out, better to spend now and save trillions in the future. And let’s protect all of the area mentioned, not just Houston.

So let’s do this Galveston, Texas City, League City, La Porte, Kemah, Seabrook, Houston together. Let’s show the world one more time that we can work together when we need to. Let’s not waste anymore time.

Scott Freudenburg


(11) comments

Paula Flinn

First step: Try to get a consensus. That will take some time.

Only people who live and/or work in Galveston, or have relatives living in Galveston, care about Galveston surviving a hurricane. If a "Gate" can be built cheaper to protect the refineries and Port of Houston, you can just bet that will be the choice. Even if said "Gate" will do more harm to Galveston, than not having it.

The people of Galveston will have to do what they have always done: evacuate (or face the consequences) and rebuild.

Kathy Maddox

Yeah, thanks for that Mr. Insurance! Barrier Island. If you don't like it--MOVE!

Kevin Lang

I think that the first consensus we need is whether this is the most effective option. Are there better options that, while perhaps more expensive, would be more cost-effective in the long run? Are there changes we can make onshore at less cost that would mitigate the risk enough to where the barrier might not be needed, or perhaps a scaled down one would more than effective enough?

One thing I definitely agree with in the article is that after 6 years, it's time to start doing what we're going to do to prevent the kind of damage that Ike caused. If no one has any other ideas they're willing to try to sell, we should get started raising the funds required to build the Ike Dike and get on with it.

George Croix

"What amazes me is the way we continue to waste time debating this subject while that the last thing in the world we have is time."
Then, forget it.
Because it will take LOTS of time to even get started if a decision were made today to build something, AND if the Chinese would loan us the money, if for no other reason than all the 'environmental impact studies' and attendant lawsuits that will tie up everything for 5 or ten years or longer.
There just might be a lawsuit or two from other folks along the gulf who think their little chunck of paradise is just as worthy of hurricane protection by the feds as Galveston is, too. The differenec is HERE we CAN play up the importance of the Port and the upper ship channel refineries/chem plants.
Better not forget that they are far more important to the nation than a tourist town, and thus far more likely to get financing attention....

Jose' Boix

The first step is to get local leadership! Somehow Louisiana got a barrier built; perhaps Texas should invite key folks from Louisiana along with the Dutch and UH and TAMU to help define the most effective course of action. The key problem is we have no leadership to bring this effort to fruition; we just spend time debating, and will do so till Ike 2 happens.

George Croix

The rest of the story on the Louisiana barrier:

Inner Harbor Navigation Canal Lake Borgne Surge Barrier
Total length 1.8 miles
Construction begin 2008
Construction end 2013
Construction cost $1.1 billion

1.8 miles, 5 years (WITH expedited build in the wake of post-Katrina publicity and outcry...), 1.1 billion bucks.


Kathy Maddox


Steve Fouga

If they start the study today, gecroix and I, in our early 60s, might just see the Ike Dike completed, if that concept comes out on top in the "consensus-building" phase. I figure 25 years, $30B. During that time, life on Galveston Island and Bolivar Peninsula will be continuously disrupted due to construction.

On the other hand, a series of levees plus the Centennial Gate might be a third the time and cost... gecroix and I could marvel at the engineering feats and enjoy their benefits while we're still young men. Of course gecroix is already protected by a levee that someone had the foresight to build decades ago.

George Croix

Yes, an 'Ike dike' or some type of barrier of some size, somewhere, could be done faster, if the money tree bears heavy fruit for a few years, and IF, as was done in N.O. on the IHNC barrier, the design is done concurrent with construction, like it was there, pretty much here's what we just drew up, now go build it. Little if any 'environmental' resistance, no doubt because the politics of that project overrode all other considerations that any other project would find daunting, or at least delaying. Happy faces aside for a moment, it must also be remembered that at the time that project started the nation wasn't in a fundamentally changed economy, and being a red state was not an automatic impediment to federally sanctioned projects and attention.
I firmly believe based partly on a WAG ([wink]) and partly on a lifetime of looking at things as they are and THEN seeing what might be done with those things, instead of wishing it so, that unless people focus on protecting nationally important industrial infrastructure, the current federal politics just do not favor spending money to protect people's homes and businesses on a grand, even mega, scale.
The past, is....well, past...Decades ago we had an economy based mostly on Capitalism, and minnows or grass were not considered more important than protecting humans and homes/businesses, and the 'progressives' had not foolishly demonized 'Big Oil' to the point that the average person is utterly clueless that without it, we do not survive. The T.C. Levee would likely be a non-starter today....
I sure am thankful for the period of sanity and prosperity, relative, at the time that saw people build the darn thing then.
It was comforting to be on hurricane duty at the refinery for 30 plus years and know the water at least had to get a few feet higher to get what the wind missed....[beam][beam][beam][beam]

Steve Fouga

I concur with the idea that protecting industry is more important and more likely than protecting homes.

I used to wonder why the industry is not screaming for that protection.

My suspicion is that the industry knows that if they raise the red flag and yell about surge protection, they will be forced to foot part of the bill. And they have done their business-case analyses that show they will be better off letting the damage come (if ever), and being paid off by their insurers, than spending a penny of their own money for something that might never happen.

They're doing exactly what I'd do if I were them. Nothing. Let someone else spend money.

George Croix

I don't think it's strictly suffer the damage and go from there. There are typically human beings inside those plants when the storms hit, as even when they shut down the process facilities, there still needs to be people watching utility systems, etc. Although just before I left some plans were finally being made for helicopter evac of 'volunteers' if things got really hairy.
Even without surge, the high winds turn the place(s) into very dangerous places, just from the flying pices of sheet metal insulation alone.
Picture a 2' x 8' long Ginsu knife flying hrough the, picture a bunch of them....
The things we did and do for a public that largely hates us, but can't live without us...[beam][beam][beam]

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