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Port Arthur Floodwall Requires Repairs

Thursday, August 10, 2017

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Officials with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Texas’ Jefferson County Drainage District 7 are working to repair a damaged floodwall that could leave the city of Port Arthur vulnerable to damage should a hurricane or tropical storm hit.

A portion of the concrete floodwall, on Taylor Bayou, was found during routine maintenance earlier this month to be breaking apart. Drainage District 7—a state-affiliated agency—informed the Corps of the failure, and the two entities are working together to create temporary and permanent fixes.

While an investigation is underway, early reports indicate that the failure occurred due to shifting soil under the wall.

"It's pretty obvious from a professional engineer's point of view that it's a stress break," DD7 manager Phil Kelley told the Beaumont Enterprise.

40-Year-Old System

The levee system, known as the Port Arthur and Vicinity Hurricane Flood Protection System, was built in the 1970s and is in need of an upgrade, according to the Corps. A Corps spokesperson told the Enterprise that a 2015 report on the system indicated that additional levees may be needed to ensure the system protects the Port Arthur area in the event of a hurricane.

Even so, in late 2015, the Federal Emergency Management Agency certified the Port Arthur levee system to protect the coast, making it the first coastal levee system in the state to achieve the certification. That approval from FEMA allowed the Port Arthur area to remain a 500-year flood plain; without the certification, the area would have been considered a 100-year flood plain according to FEMA maps.

DD7 and the Corps will hold a public meeting this evening (Aug. 10) to offer updates on their proposed next steps, and information on safety during hurricane season.

Both entities are advising Jefferson County residents to keep aware of any storms that may threaten the Gulf Coast region. “We also highly encourage the public to follow the directions of their locally elected officials if the area becomes threatened by a tropical system this year,” the Corps said in a press release.

   

Tagged categories: concrete; Infrastructure; NA; North America; Program/Project Management; Rehabilitation/Repair; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

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