(7) comments Back to story

Bill Cochrane

You have got to be kidding. What is described here has already been “demonstrated” for many years. The so-called engineered dune or “hardened dune” to demonstrate how the west end can be protected has been completed and demonstrated for years. It’s called The Galveston Seawall. Complete at 17’ high, just as Merrell suggests. The seawall was built in segments as the Island population expanded to the west. Sadly, at some point years ago the politicians in charge of the extensions decided that it was finished. Merrell wants to build a mini seawall and wait for a hurricane to demonstrate how it works. This is getting weird.

Bailey Jones

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Bailey Jones

"would aim for a height and base span that would withstand a 100-year storm" - Is this what used to be called a "100 year storm" - the kind of storm we see every few years now? Or is this the new "100 year storm" - what we used to call a "500 year storm"? Can we stop with the probabilistic language and just quantify what this thing will protect against? How much rain, how much storm surge and for how long?

Steve Fouga

I had exactly the same reaction as Bill. I wonder what it would cost to extend the seawall to SLP, using the existing decades-old design. Maybe it's too expensive to build, nowadays, and that's why Dr. Merrell is suggesting a clay-core alternative.

Susan Fennewald

One of the problems with a seawall is that you lose the beach in front of it. The west end has enough of a problem with erosion and funding beach restoration. With a wall it will be worse.

Susan Fennewald

another thing about Galveston's seawall is that it was filled behind it to make it impregnable. That takes a lot of room. Think about it - the entire 5-7 lanes of seawall blvd as well as the first bit of the north side are all at the 17 ft elevation. You could eliminate the entire beachside housing on the west end to put in the wall -but that rather defeats the point. All the houses on the west end are elevated anyway, so the only houses "protected" are the first row - which would have to be eliminated to place the wall there.

Steve Fouga

Yes, Susan, if it were up to me, we would design a surge protection system with no regard for what was already there. That's the only way to optimize it, I'm afraid.

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