The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is expected to make a major announcement later this month to help protect the coast from future hurricanes.
The Army Corps is finally moving forward on plans for the so-called “Ike Dike” to prevent storm surge. But those working on the project warn construction is still years away.
“Ten years for construction after final approval is optimistic, and probably 2035 will be the earliest that they're realistically looking at the entire project being completed,” says Jim Blackburn, professor of environmental law at Rice University.
“There are certainly many steps ahead, but this is an important next step that we have to go through,” he says. “There may be other options coming up about different ways to expedite different pieces of this, but we're all waiting to see what the Corps says on the 26th,” he says.
Funding from Congress remains up in the air as the project moves forward.
“Fifty to sixty miles of coastal spine that protects 6.5 million people and the petrochemical industry along Galveston Bay, that project falls into the $8-10 billion category,” says Leonard Waterworth, executive professor in the department of maritime administration at Texas A&M-Galveston.
The October 26 announcement will then open a 75-day public comment period.