(9) comments Back to story

Jeff Patterson

Thanks Michael for the support. Just to clarify my comment, the area inside the ring barrier provides for approximately 50% of the damage reduction benefits. The numbers quoted are being updated by the Corps, but illustrate the large benefit provided by the area that would be protected by the ring barrier. Brian Harper is correct that a ring barrier height of 14' above sea level does not provide full protection against every storm event...the Corps calculates it would need to be 18' above sea level to do that without the gates at Bolivar Roads and the sand and dune system on Bolivar Peninsula and west of the Seawall....but building it sooner rather than later still provides significant protection to the eastern half of Galveston, and also accelerates Galveston's move to a pump-supplemented storm drainage system, which we desperately need.

Wayne D Holt

Brian Harper, chief of the planning division in the Army Corps Galveston District said, “If it were built as the first component, there is a substantial risk of storm surge flowing over the wall.”

This is an interesting comment. For it to be valid, it would seem the Corp would have to know the future likelihood of any surge height. And for that to be knowable, wouldn't the Corps also have to have foreknowledge of the severity of incoming Gulf storms, wind direction, landfall point, normal tidal conditions, and other factors that feed into the equation for every incident?

Our downtown building was faced with a similar question when we bought lightweight jersey barriers after Hurricane Harvey that could be put in place when we were threatened with rising water. We had to decide on the appropriate height we were guarding against and wound up purchasing moderate height barriers that would protect against all but the more severe flooding.

It seems to me the same thing is true for the ring barrier. How can having a completely unprotected downtown-midtown for decades make more sense than having SOME protection sooner and full design protection if and when the coastal barrier is completed at some point?

A very wise old engineer once told me, "You can't beat something with nothing." No wait...that was my junior high school PE teacher.

Bill Broussard

Wayne:: also that’s what the pumps in the design help with—overflow. Our city says without or with the barrier we need about four pumps with one being installed currently at 16 th street. The barrier would bring about six with the us paying 65% if the cost. Sounds like a mattress Mack great deal to me.

Gary Miller

Pumps first, ring next. The 23 ft high TC LM levee was nearly over topped by a cat 3 hurricane. 14 ft sounds like building a bowl for anything stronger than cat 2. Money was the reason TC LM pumps can't handle big rain events. Pay for what is needed or wish you had.

Taylor Wilson

I wish the ring barrier included the teichman area. I saw a proposed plan that included it but the latest rendition I've seen didn't. I'm afraid, for those being just outside a ring levee, flooding risks could be increased significantly. The corp should look into the plan that includes that area.

Jeff Patterson

As I understand it, the Corps did look at several options, and decided that the current option which protects the Teichman area has a better benefit cost ratio, so that’s the one they are proceeding with.

Randy Chapman

Galveston is just a means to an end. The barrier is to protect the petrochemical industry and others that line the Bay. Throw Galveston a bone to get it going.

Jeff Patterson

The coastal barrier as designed does provide some protection for the Houston ship channel and the industry along it, but not as much as you would think. That is due to the amount of distance from the barrier along the coast to the ship channel. The so-called mid-bay/SSPEED Center design with a gate would actually provide a higher level of protection for the ship channel. As has been stated, 50% of the damage reduction from the current design comes from the area that would be protected by the ring barrier. The damage reduction numbers from the areas around the Houston ship channel are actually relatively small. That is not to say that the current design of the coastal barrier would not protect those industries, but the reality is that most of those industries self protect and self insure, so the actual damage numbers that can be used by the Corps are relatively small. The coastal barrier would lessen the amount of storm surge that would hit the ship channel, as well as protecting the homes of many of the workers who operate the plants. There is definitely value in that.

Jeff Patterson

I meant to say “with a gate near the Hartman Bridge”

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