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Coastal Spine Project
The coastal spine project, sometimes referred to as the "Ike Dike", is a proposal from Texas A&M University at Galveston that seeks add surge gates to the Galveston sea wall and extend protection to the entire Houston-Galveston region during hurricanes.

Coastal Spine Proposition

The project was originally conceived by Professor Bill Merrell of Texas A&M University at Galveston as a way to reduce damage from devastating storm surge, like with hurricane Ike in 2008.


Features

  • Sand-covered dunes with hardened cores to be constructed on the Galveston island’s west end and on the Bolivar Peninsula
  • Surge gates that will close during storm surge events, but will not otherwise impede access to Galveston Bay
  • Raised coastal highways to prevent loss of access and provide further protection during storm surge

Project Basis
This project is based on the successful Delta Works project located in the Netherlands which has been in operation since 1959.

Estimated Completion Timeframe & Cost
It's estimated that once construction begins, the project would take approximately 2 years to complete. It's estimated to cost somewhere between 4 and 6 billion dollars. The federal government would pay for 85% of construction costs with the remaining 15% coming from local sources. Local sources would also pay for annual maintenance which is typically .5% of the initial construction cost.

Timeline
  • October 06, 2016 – The Texas Joint Interim Committee to Study a Coastal Barrier System held a hearing to hear further testimony regarding a proposal to protect the Texas Gulf Coast, particularly the Houston-Galveston region, from hurricane storm surge events.
  • September 15, 2016 – United States Senator John Cornyn issued a statement regarding the Senate's passage of the Water Resources Development Act, which includes a provision to help streamline the United States Army Corps of Engineers' coastal protection study along the Texas Upper Gulf Coast.
  • June 29, 2016 – The City of Morgan's Point and the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership on Wednesday issued a news release in response to the Gulf Coast Community Protection and Recovery District's Phase 3 Report of its Storm Surge Suppression Study.
  • May 26, 2016 – United States Senator John Cornyn spoke on the Senate floor regarding the COAST Act, which is aimed at expediting the process of studying and beginning construction on a federally-funded coastal protection project along the Texas Gulf Coast.
  • May 13, 2016 – Congressman Randy Weber announced that he has introduced legislation to expedite the United States Corps of Engineers' Coastal Texas Protection and Restoration Study, which could provide infrastructure projects to protect Texas from storms.
  • April 28, 2016 – United States Senator John Cornyn announced that he has introduced legislation to speed up the United States Army Corps of Engineers' feasibility studies, and streamline the authorization process for federally funded coastal protection projects along the Texas Gulf Coast.
  • April 01, 2016 – The Gulf Coast Community Protection and Recovery District (GCCPRD) held the third in a series of public scoping meetings to review the findings of the second phase of the six-county district’s Storm Surge Suppression Study.
  • March 30, 2016 – Morgan's Point Mayor Michel Bechtel met with Congressman Steve Scalise, House Majority Whip, to discuss the issue of local storm surge protection.
  • March 14, 2016 – Seabrook Mayor Glenn Royal wrote a letter asking the community to support the "coastal spine" alternative in the Gulf Coast Community Protection and Recovery District's Storm Surge Suppression Study.
  • March 03, 2016 – The Gulf Coast Community Protection and Recovery District will host a series of meetings in March to receive feedback regarding the Storm Surge Suppression Study.
  • February 16, 2016 – The Gulf Coast Community Protection and Recovery District will host a meeting on February 23 at the Jefferson County Courthouse to present the Phase 2 findings of the Storm Suppression Study.
  • November 12, 2015 – Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy today announced that a research paper by experts at the university find that new structural and nonstructural solutions could better protect the Houston-Galveston Region from the impact of hurricanes and severe storms.
  • September 01, 2015 – Rice University's Severe Storm Prediction, Education and Evacuation from Disasters Center announced that it has added a mid-bay floodgate option to its alternatives for protecting the Houston-Galveston area from storm surge events.
  • April 15, 2015 – Galveston County Commissioners Court met in workshop with representatives of Texas A&M University at Galveston and the Bay Area Coastal Protection Alliance, who complained that the six-county Gulf Coast Community Protection and Recovery District and the United States Army Corps of Engineers are moving too slowly on development of a coastal protection system. 
  • March 31, 2015 – The Texas House of Representatives Land and Resource Management Committee, chaired by Representative Joe Deshotel, voted unanimously to move legislation continuing the Joint Interim Committee on Coastal Barrier Systems to the full House.


Additional Resources
Coastal Spine Project in the News



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