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Levee repairs await approval

By Lorenzo Salinas



The work has been done; now, the next part is just waiting for the OK to finish that work.

Emergency repairs on the section of the Hurricane Flood Protection Levee near Taylor Bayou in Port Arthur are nearing completion as Drainage District 7 awaits approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

“The temporary sheet pile wall is in place. We are now waiting for review,” DD7 manager Phil Kelley said.

DD7 and contractor for the repairs Mason Construction have submitted their plans for 408 section review from the Corps for additional bracing on the wall.

Kelley said once the Corps gives them approval, he expects Mason to finish the emergency repairs in three to four weeks.

“It would be well ahead of hurricane season,” Kelley said.

The temporary repairs held in place when Tropical Storm Harvey hit Southeast Texas in August. According to Kelley, the levee system was originally designed to withstand a category 3 hurricane along with a category 3 storm surge. The wall averages an elevation of 16 feet.

When the damaged section of floodwall was first discovered in August, the overall estimate was $10 million in order to get it fixed. However, that estimate is forecast to be lower by the time the project wraps up.

“We’re up to $6 million right now. I think it will be substantially lower than $10 million,” Kelley said. “It will be probably be in the neighborhood of $6.5 or $7 million.”

The Hurricane Flood Protection Levee was authorized by federal funds that were appreciated by Congress due to Hurricane Carla hitting the area in 1961. A joint venture between DD7 and the Corps the following year helped create the flood protection system.

Federal appropriation was 70 percent and DD7 accounted for 30 percent.