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Location of proposed construction
Location of proposed construction


The Ike Dike is a proposed seawall that, when completed, would protect the Galveston Baymarker in Texasmarker, United Statesmarker. The project would be a dramatic enhancement of the existing Galveston Seawall, complete with floodgates, which would protect more of Galvestonmarker, the Bolivar Peninsulamarker, the Galveston Bay Areamarker, and Houstonmarker. The barrier would extend across the entire Gulfmarker-side coasts of Galveston and the Bolivar Peninsula and would provide a barrier against all Gulf surges into the bay. The project is the brainchild of Dr. Bill Merrell of Texas A&M University at Galvestonmarker.

The proposal is, as the name suggests, motivated by the damage caused by Hurricane Ike in 2008 (as well as the disastrous 1900 Galveston Hurricanemarker). Storm surges from Hurricane Ike caused severe damage to Galvestonmarker and the Bolivar Peninsulamarker and caused significant damage to other areas around the bay. Fortunately the damage to critical industries was minimal and most heavy industry returned to normal quickly. Still, Ike was not nearly as destructive as meteorologists predict a future hurricane will eventually be.

Proponents argue that there is a national security concern that must be addressed. The Houston area is home to the largest and most important concentration of petroleum refining and petrochemical processing plants in the world and most of these plants are on the coast or on the ship channelmarker. Additionally the Port of Houston is the second-busiest port in the nation. The economic damage to the United States, not to mention Texas, in the event of a catastrophic impact on the coast would be nationally serious.

Opponents of the project worry that it is simply too expensive (some estimates place the cost between $3 billion and $4 billion) and its efficacy is not established. Additionally some have suggested that in certain scenarios the proposed system could actually make flooding worse.Casselman, WSJ (4 June 2009)

"Gordon Wells, a University of Texas researcher who advises state officials on hurricane planning, warns the Ike Dike could actually make flooding worse in Galveston in certain scenarios, trapping water behind the wall."

 the project is currently only a concept, but has the support of the Texas Governor.Casselman, WSJ (4 June 2009)
"The idea is still in the conceptual stage and has plenty of detractors worried about cost, environmental impacts and whether it would really work. But the Ike Dike has gained significant traction in recent months." No funding has been allocated and it is unclear at this time where that funding might come from.

Notes

  1. Casselman, WSJ (4 June 2009)
  2. Rice University: SSPEED
  3. Merrell, Texas A&M-Galveston
  4. Triarsi, KHOU (15 Jan 2009)
  5. Meyers, GCDN (14 Jan 2009)


References




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