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New Momentum For Giant Coastal Barrier? Group Says Yes

A local organization says there’s new momentum for the construction of a huge coastal barrier that would protect the
Houston-Galveston area from storm surge during the next hurricane. The giant project could cost upwards of $6 billion.


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Supporters of a so-called “coastal spine” built to withstand massive storm surge during a hurricane say there’s more organized support for a giant barrier.

The idea isn’t really that new.

It involves a huge coastal barrier that would stretch from High Island west to San Luis Pass.

It would include natural looking, hardened dunes along the Bolivar Peninsula and on the west end of Galveston Island. A giant, moveable gate would protect the entrance to Galveston Bay.

Vic Pierson heads the newly formed Bay Area Coastal Protection Alliance, an organization trying to move the coastal barrier idea forward.

“We are beginning the stages of our economic research, which will facilitate a cost-benefit analysis, which is really needed to move this forward in getting the funding necessary,” Pierson said. 
The group says the Houston-Galveston area can’t afford another hit like Hurricane Ike, which caused
$35 billion worth of property and environmental damage. The project could cost upwards of $6 billion, which isn’t as expensive as a revamped levee project in New  Orleans a few years ago.

“New Orleans has had theirs developed, a plan at least twice as expensive as this,” he said. “Our coastal spine
will be about half the cost of what New Orleans has. One of the main reasons is that New Orleans is below sea level and we’re not.”

Pierson says the government picked-up the entire tab for the New Orleans project.