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20 ft. Levee surrounding Galveston

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The Galveston Daily News quoted Mike Fitzpatrick, the Galveston County Engineer in it's Saturday (10/25/08) edition about a 1979 Corp of Engineers study that would have Galveston surrounded with a 20ft. levee, along with a series of pumping stations. The study proposed building a levee from Ft. Point at the end of Galveston's east seawall around by the waterfront, along Harborside Dr. crossing Offats Bayou and sealing the ring at the western tip of the seawall.

The cost in 1979 dollars was 90 million. Today's cost would be close to 800 million, it stated. Consider that the damage to UTMB alone may top 700 million, it's seems to have been a wise investment if the leadership at that time would have committed the taxpayers to it. I think the local share would have only been around 30 million.

Stephen Holmes, a current Galveston County commissioner said, "we will revist that proposal no matter what the current cost". I agree, Galveston can not let another hurricane season go by without committting itself to major flood control improvements. The current business owners can not sustain another catastrophy like this. I repaired and reopenned my wife's business as quickly as possible, but will think twice if it happens again. I am putting together an exit strategy now, just in case.

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I doubt it will happen. Even if it was only $100 million there is going to be a legion of people claiming the money would be better spent on other things.

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The Galveston Daily News quoted Mike Fitzpatrick, the Galveston County Engineer in it's Saturday (10/25/08) edition about a 1979 Corp of Engineers study that would have Galveston surrounded with a 20ft. levee, along with a series of pumping stations. The study proposed building a levee from Ft. Point at the end of Galveston's east seawall around by the waterfront, along Harborside Dr. crossing Offats Bayou and sealing the ring at the western tip of the seawall.

The cost in 1979 dollars was 90 million. Today's cost would be close to 800 million, it stated. Consider that the damage to UTMB alone may top 700 million, it's seems to have been a wise investment if the leadership at that time would have committed the taxpayers to it. I think the local share would have only been around 30 million.

Stephen Holmes, a current Galveston County commissioner said, "we will revist that proposal no matter what the current cost". I agree, Galveston can not let another hurricane season go by without committting itself to major flood control improvements. The current business owners can not sustain another catastrophy like this. I repaired and reopenned my wife's business as quickly as possible, but will think twice if it happens again. I am putting together an exit strategy now, just in case.

$90 million in 1979 dollars is $271.2 million in 2008 dollars. Adjusted for inflation and then discounted at a rate of 5% to account for the opportunity cost of capital, the $700 million in damage done to UTMB in 2008 would only be worth $56.4 million to prevent in 1979.

Of course, that is assuming that the damage is calculated appropriately for such a study. There are a lot of tricks that can be utilized to inflate the damage numbers. There are actually consultants out there that do such studies and try their very best to provide an over-hyped damage total which an institution like UTMB or a municipality like the City of Galveston can use to try and leverage funds from government sources.

All the same, I actually tend to agree that a flood control project in some form or another is probably viable. It may not protect all of (or even very much of) the same land area. At the same time, it might incorporate much more costly methods in order to preserve the look and feel of UTMB or downtown Galveston's waterfront. I honestly don't know.

But for Stephen Holmes to say that "we will revist that proposal no matter what the current cost" is sort of a cop-out. I don't know why anyone would disagree with revisitation of the plan because talk is cheap. Discussion of this and all sorts of capital improvement programs designed to mitigate risks associated with hurricanes should be undertaken. Let me know when Holmes actually takes an actual stand on something and I'll be in a better position to comment on it.

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Provocative question of the day: Is it cheaper to build a $700 million floodwall or to relocate all the people off an island barely above sea level that will be hit by another hurricane eventually?

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you dont need a wall... you need to build structures that allow 20 feet of water underneath them. The houses in beachland or whatever its name is came out without a scratch.

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Provocative question of the day: Is it cheaper to build a $700 million floodwall or to relocate all the people off an island barely above sea level that will be hit by another hurricane eventually?

Build. But then, your question implies a false bifurcation fallacy.

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Maybe the article below will give those who support the 20 ft levee surrounding Galveston some more "ammo"............ :D

I, personally---have my concerns with this Bio-4 lab being built on Galveston--but what the h*ll would I know--I'm just a retired researcher myself!!

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/29/us/29lab...amp;oref=slogin

But what's "done is done"---so now they darn well better make sure the lab is secure!!! :huh:

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you dont need a wall... you need to build structures that allow 20 feet of water underneath them. The houses in beachland or whatever its name is came out without a scratch.

Building on stilts isn't enough by itself to fight off a storm surge. Have you not seen the pictures from Bolivar? Those houses were built on stilts, and they're no longer there. The same story would have been true on Galveston's west end had Ike come in at Freeport.

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Provocative question of the day: Is it cheaper to build a $700 million floodwall or to relocate all the people off an island barely above sea level that will be hit by another hurricane eventually?

the barrier island is needed to protect the mainland without it the mainland will be taking the same hits Galveston is now.....it is also needed to keep open the intracoastal waterway

this means something needs to be done to keep Galveston as a barrier island which means keeping the beach and expanding it in a way that storms will not wash it away.....once the beach is there people will want to recreate on it....then people will want to have a business to sell to them....and off it goes

every area of the USA has disasters be it tornados, hurricanes, mud slides, widlfires, massive floods, volcanos and on and on....if we all moved away from these types of areas we would all be living on the flat fertile farmlands and still be subjected to tornados and many of us would be driving many many miles to get to work at port, river, recreation, and other work places which would not work well

you can't run and hid from mother nature all you can do is be prepared for it the best you can.......with what you said about Galveston....what about Houston.....shouldn't we move downtown and TMC to higher ground so they will not be flooded every hundred years

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Building on stilts isn't enough by itself to fight off a storm surge. Have you not seen the pictures from Bolivar? Those houses were built on stilts, and they're no longer there. The same story would have been true on Galveston's west end had Ike come in at Freeport.

Actually, that was mainly due to the force of the winds, which a levee wouldn't stop anyways.

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Actually, that was mainly due to the force of the winds, which a levee wouldn't stop anyways.

I disagree Kurian. Category 2 winds could not cause the kind of catastrophic damage that occured on Bolivar. It was the inprecedented storm surge that caused this damage.

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Actually, that was mainly due to the force of the winds, which a levee wouldn't stop anyways.

Recall that there are waves above the storm surge. A 15 foot surge, as was estimated at the coast, topped by massive waves would be capable of devastating a wood frame home as existed on Bolivar.

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Maybe the article below will give those who support the 20 ft levee surrounding Galveston some more "ammo"............ :D

I, personally---have my concerns with this Bio-4 lab being built on Galveston--but what the h*ll would I know--I'm just a retired researcher myself!!

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/29/us/29lab...amp;oref=slogin

But what's "done is done"---so now they darn well better make sure the lab is secure!!! :huh:

Ouch, what else does Galveston have that I did not know about? :)

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