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By Margaret Toal
For the Record 

Army Engineers will take virtual questions on levee system Thursday.


Last updated 11/15/2022 at 8:08pm

People with questions about the levee-floodwall project across Orange County will be able to submit them by email and then listen for the answers on a virtual, online conference about the $2.4 billion project.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District is holding the virtual meeting on Thursday, November 17, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Questions should be submitted before the meeting to [email protected]. Access to the online meeting will begin at 11:15 a.m. on Thursday.

The virtual conference may be accessed through the homepage of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston website.

The corps of engineers is now giving a timeline of completing the design in 2024 and having construction completed in 2028.

Orange will be the first county to get a major flood protection system along the Texas Gulf Coast. Congress approved the initial money allocation in 2018. Port Arthur is going first among the three funded programs. The Port Arthur project is to raise the existing levees and do other improvements. Freeport has also been allocated money for a seawall-levee system.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is overseeing all the projects. The corps of engineers has had contractors working in Orange County looking at land and surveying the area. The corps has already completed the environmental and historic surveys.

The corps held three public meetings in Orange County in the spring this year. At that time, engineers said the design map is being adjusted to suggestions from the public and local officials. For instance, the seawall on the eastern side of the county will run along Simmons Drive in places instead of along the Sabine River. This will allow the city of Orange's Boat Ramp, park, and Riverside Pavilion to stay in place. Gates will be designed for the roadway into the park to be closed off, if needed, for a flood event.

The flood protection system is being designed to help the county deal with the continuing rise of the Gulf of Mexico onto land, along with a surge of the Gulf during a hurricane, and for a rain flood event.

The plans calls for 26.3 miles of protection along the marshes of the Neches River, along Sabine Lake, and along the Sabine River. Most of the land is along public right-of-way or along the petrochemical plants, which support the system, along the Sabine River.

The most recent plans have 20 miles of earthen levees plus more than three miles of concrete floodwalls. Some of the floodwall designs along the Sabine River in Orange have not been determined.

The system will also have 150 to 200 gravity drainage structures to send water inside the county into the rivers, which drain into Sabine Lake. There will also be 14 to 16 pumping stations to help send water out into bayous, rivers, and Sabine Lake.

Lift gates will be installed at Cow Bayou and Adams Bayou. The gates will leave the bayous open for navigation except for the times they need to be closed. The project includes restoring some marshes and wetlands in the county, mainly in the Bridge City area.

Orange County has become a member of the Gulf Coast Protection District, a governmental group established to be the non-federal part of the protection system, which is planned to go from Orange County to Galveston, and on to Freeport. Precinct 3 Commissioner Kirk Roccaforte is the county's representative on the district's governing board.

The Orange County partners on the system are the corps of engineers, the Gulf Coast Protection District, Orange County, and the Orange County Drainage District.


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