The United States Army Corps of Engineers conducted a ceremony Monday for the signing of an agreement authorizing the building of a massive levee project for Orange County. The ceremony held at the Orange County Convention and Expo Center was attended by officials from the federal, state, and local governments.
Col. Timothy Vail with the Corps of Engineers for the Galveston District described the compound protection that will be in place with this levee project. In Orange County there will be 15 miles of new levees to be designed, 11 miles of new flood walls, more than seven different pump stations, and 50 different drainage structures.
The colonel said the Corps is already working with local community input to make the project have a positive impact. Vail promised, “Make our grandchildren look back and see the fruits of our efforts come to fruition over the next 50 years.”
The levee has been in the works since 2018 and will cost more than $4 billion to complete. Orange County like many other counties in the Sabine Pass to Galveston Bay project could not afford its share of the project.
The Texas General Land Office has worked with Orange County officials to pay the county’s share of $74 million for the project. Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush said earlier, “This signing agreement is an important milestone in our efforts to protect, reinforce, and strengthen the Texas Coast. Texas citizens trust in their local leaders to ensure that their coastal livelihood is sustained – and the Sabine to Galveston study demonstrates the initiative to do exactly that.”
U.S. Congressman Brian Babin attended the ceremony and pointed out the significance of the proposed levee for his congressional district that includes southeast Texas and Orange County which has more petrochemical facilities than any other district in the nation. “Those industries will have employees and a work force that has an affordable housing real estate market and plus affordable flood insurance and then also to be able to have those folks live in close enough proximity so they can come to work and have these facilities continue the way they’re going,” Babin reminded.
Colonel Vail concluded the press conference stating with the design agreement approved the goal is to start construction on the levee by the middle of 2021. He plans to work closely with Don Corona of the Orange County Drainage District in working out the final design of the levee in the county.
Gothia and Corona will discuss the levee project Wednesday at 8am on The KOGT Morning Show with Gary Stelly.
-Dan Perrine, KOGT-