Largest flood barrier in world proposed for Texas

Posted at 10:57 AM, Oct 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-27 11:57:36-04

GALVESTON, TX (KTRK/CNN) – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have released their plan to build the largest flood barrier in the world along the Texas coastline.

The Corps of Engineers released their idea for a floodgate system Friday to protect the Galveston region, which could cost as much as $30 billion.

The groundbreaking plan includes almost 30 floodgates, which will form a protective barrier to the oil refinery business, homes and business owners like Dennis Byrd.

"Storm surge is a big risk. It's a big risk for Galveston Island, it's a big risk for the region,” Byrd said.

A decade after Hurricane Ike ravaged the coast, the Coastal Texas Study developed by the Corps of Engineers and the Texas General Land Office is designed to reduce the risk of storm surge, mirroring projects in London, Venice and the Netherlands.

The proposed barrier system would cover 70 miles of coast, starting near High Island, down Bolivar Peninsula, across the entrance to Galveston Bay, and down the Island to San Luis Pass.

Once complete, the main gate across the ship channel would be the largest floodgate in the world at 2,800 feet wide, big enough for two tankers to pass through at once.

The study will be completed by 2021 and submitted to Congress for funding approval. The total price tag could reach $30 billion, but would likely be completed and funded in several phases.

The benefits would extend up into Galveston Bay communities.

"It'll be an ambitious plan, but I think the seawall in the early 1900s was an ambitious plan, so sometimes a little ambition goes a long way," Byrd said.

Some critics said the project wouldn’t keep a storm surge from flooding Galveston. Environmentalists said the system could negatively impact wildlife in and around Galveston Bay.

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