In 2020, three hurricanes – Hanna, Laura and Sally – left many along the Texas Coast holding their breath. In the tense hours before landfall, residents feared what might come. Each “near miss,” as many called them, brought critical flood and coastal resiliency to the forefront of conversations.
It was the same conversation the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Southwestern Division and their partners have had since before Hurricane Harvey made landfall in 2017. It is a conversation that, after Congress passed the Bi-Partisan Budget Act of 2018, shaped SWD aggressive execution of Hurricane Harvey Supplemental Program.
The $5.2 billion Southwestern Division Supplemental Program consists of 40 projects across four states. It provides coastal and flood risk resiliency by repairing damage from previous hurricanes and building additional flood risk reduction structures.
“The projects within the Hurricane Harvey Supplemental Program are critical to the region,” said Jon Loxley, program manager, Hurricane Harvey Supplemental Program. “With our partners, we are reducing storm risk for generations to come.”
The projects within the Program attack the problem of riverine and coastal resilience from three different approaches: 1) protecting people from the devastating effects of significant storms and enabling them to recover quickly when storms strike, 2) restoration and preservation of environmental features that, along with human-made structures, help protect the coast from storm damage, and 3) repairing and improving critical infrastructure.
“We have team members across the entire region dedicated to not only the projects in the Program but to the communities and resident who will benefit from their completion,” Loxley said.
$390 million funds obligated to date.
14 of 14 Operation & Maintenance projects under construction with completion expected in Fall 2021. O&M projects include repairs to spillways, erosion repair, dredging, restoring depleted dredged material disposal capacity, removing shoaled material and other actions associated with maintaining critical navigation channels.
Eight of nine Flood Control and Coastal Emergency, or FCCE, projects under construction with completion expected in Summer 2021. FCCE projects are federally and non-federally constructed projects that have been inspected by USACE and found to meet the standards for the PL84-99 Rehabilitation and Inspection Program (RIP). Once in the RIP, sponsors must maintain their projects to USACE standards to remain eligible for assistance under the RIP. RIP provides USACE assistance after a flood or significant storm to repair these projects.
Tulsa West Tulsa Feasibility Study was completed six months ahead of schedule and $700,000 under-budget. This three-year, $3 million Federally-funded feasibility study identify opportunities for federally-funded repairs to the Tulsa/West Tulsa Levee system. The system is comprised of approximately 20 miles of levees divided into three sections that extends from Sand Springs to Tulsa, Oklahoma.
AT&SF Bridge construction, part of the Dallas Floodway Project, was completed. The Dallas Floodway Project, located in metropolitan Dallas, includes flood risk management and ecosystem restoration. The Dallas Floodway study area is located adjacent to the Stemmons business corridor and the central business district. The recommended plan, Modified Dallas Floodway Project, consists of restoring floodway capacity to 277,000 cubic feet per second; flattening levee side slopes to 4:1 for the existing levees; modifying the AT&SF Railroad Bridge to increase conveyance efficiency; three new interior drainage pump stations, two pump stations demolished, two pump stations renovated and enhancement of wetland habitat. Contract awards are scheduled for the floodway capacity and side slopes construction as well as construction of two pump stations.
Completed contract awards for the Lewisville Dam Project, embankment component, and one contract award for the Port Arthur Project.
The Lewisville Lake Dam Project include construction actions on the embankment and spillway. The Dam provides $725.1 million in annual public benefits including water supply, flood risk management, recreation and non-federal hydropower. Lewisville Lake plays a vital role in flood risk management within the Trinity River Basin.
Port Arthur is one of three projects in the Sabine Pass to Galveston Bay Project. Supplemental funding was appropriated for the Sabine Pass to Galveston Bay (Port Arthur and Vicinity) Project that will increase the level of performance and resiliency of the existing Port Arthur Hurricane Flood Protection Project in Jefferson County, Texas.
The project will raise a portion of the existing levees and build miles of new flood wall. A new 1,800-foot earthen levee would be constructed in the Port Neches area northwest of the existing northern terminus. Additionally, 26 vehicle closure structures would be replaced, and erosion protections will be added to provide reduced flood risk to people and structures through enhanced flood management tools.
Additional projects in the Sabine Pass to Galveston Bay Project include Orange County and Freeport projects.
The Sabine Pass to Galveston Bay (Orange County) Project, a new Coastal Storm Risk Management project, featuring the construction of more than 15 miles of new levees and nearly 11 miles of flood walls and gates. The improved system will also include seven pump stations, more than 50 drainage structures, and 32 closure gates.
The Sabine Pass to Galveston Bay (Freeport) Project that will increase the level of performance and resiliency of the existing Freeport Hurricane Flood Protection Project in Brazoria County. The project will reduce storm surge into the area, protecting lives and property by raising the existing levee systems, installing sector gates, and constructing a floodwall.
Four contract awards scheduled in 2021 for the Dallas Floodway project.
Twelve construction project contract awards scheduled for 2022. Projects with contract awards in 2022 include the Dallas Floodway, Lewisville Lake Dam, Sabine Pass to Galveston Bay, and the Lower Colorado River Basin.
Once construction is complete the combined risk reduction benefits to the region include protecting millions of people and preventing billions in damages.
For more information on the Program, or to find out how it is building resiliency in your area, visit https://www.swd.usace.army.mil/Missions/SWD-Hurricane-Harvey-Supplemental-Program/.