Location: Houston, Texas (USA)
Status: Design research for alternative flood risk protection strategies
Client: Bay Area Coastal Protection Alliance
Collaboration: TU Delft CITG, Texas A&M, IV-infra & Royal HaskoningDHV

A small waterway connects the Bolivar Bay in Texas, USA to the Gulf of Mexico. During severe storms or hurricanes, the Houston metropolitan area is at risk of flooding through storm surges in the Bay; hurricane Ike, for example, caused widespread damage in the region in 2008. Closing off the Bolivar Bay from the Gulf of Mexico during extreme events could limit flood risk in the Houston area. To this end, the possibility of developing a storm surge barrier and a coastal embankment along Galveston Island are researched.

Four strategies for the protection of the Bay are developed in design-research workshops with subject-matter experts. The options for a storm-surge barrier are explicated in four alternative concepts; a barge gate, hinge gate, a series of caissons blocking the smallest channel in the Bay, and the construction of an array of artificial islands, aimed to limit wave dynamics. Additionally, various options for the spatial integration of the 160 km Galveston coastal embankment are developed.