Houston

Ike Dike: Texas coast flooding project pending approval

Experts say the Ike Dike is required to guard the Port of Houston and the continent’s largest petrochemical advanced from lethal, devastating storm surge.

HOUSTON — Hurricane season might be right here once more in just some months and attributable to local weather change the storms are extra frequent and extra extreme than ever earlier than. 

That’s why a rare project known as the “Ike Dike” is again within the highlight. Officials say it is the important thing to saving the Texas coast. 

“I know what storm surge can do,” mentioned Michel Bechtel. 

Bechtel is Mayor of Morgan’s Point, Texas. He’s seen the destruction storms do firsthand. Hurricane Katrina destroyed his house. 

“It’s a life-changing event,” mentioned Bechtel. 

Three years after Katrina, Hurricane Ike and its 17-foot storm surge slammed the Texas coast inflicting $30 billion {dollars} in harm. 

“We can’t do anything about the wind and rain in a hurricane, but we sure as hell can mitigate storm surge,” mentioned Bechtel. 

RELATED: Ike Dike plans proceed after local weather change predicts rising sea ranges in Gulf

Bechtel now serves as President of the newly shaped Gulf Coast Protection District. It’s a state physique that can handle and assist fund what’s generally known as the Ike Dike, large flood gates much like these used within the Netherlands. 

It’s been 14 years because the idea was first sketched out by a professor at Texas A&M University Galveston. Now it is a part of the Army Corps of Engineers $29 billion plan to defend a big chunk of the Texas coast from mom nature’s wrath. 

“It’s unprecedented for the Corps,” mentioned Mike Braden, chief of the Galveston District Mega Project Division for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 

They say every thing is larger in Texas and the project definitely matches that invoice. It’s supposed to guard 70 miles of shoreline turning Galveston Bay right into a sealable fortress anytime a hurricane threatens.

RELATED: The Ike Dike | Here’s what it’s

Massive gates that open and shut can be constructed alongside this 2.5 mile stretch between Galveston Island and Bolivar Peninsula. It’s only one a part of a plan particularly designed to maintain life threatening surge from the nation’s busiest port in Houston and the continent’s largest petrochemical advanced. 

“This is a large defense system, but it’s protecting something that is nationally significant,” mentioned Kelly Burks-Copes, project supervisor with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 

Burks-Copes says it would be the most important infrastructure project within the nation. The federal authorities would pay for 65% of the price, the remaining can be as much as Texas. And the clock to make it occur is ticking. 

“Doing nothing is a clear risk,” mentioned University of Houston professor Dr. Donald Van Nieuwenhuise.

Experts say each single hurricane season there’s an opportunity Houston might be within the path of a monster.

“It’s not just one, we could see a series of hurricanes and with climate change those will be stronger, so it’s not an if, but when,” mentioned Burks-Copes. 

If authorized by Congress, the project might break floor as quickly as 2023 and take 19 years to completely end.

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