It's been dubbed the "Ike Dike."
The 55-mile-long, 17-foot-high barrier would be built along the
Texas Gulf Coast to fend off the sort of devastating flooding
inflicted by last year's Hurricane Ike.
The grand idea for what would probably be the biggest seawall in
the nation faces some major hurdles. Chief among them is a price
tag of up to $4 billion.
But thousands of people are still in temporary housing 10 months
after the storm. Many say it's time to find a permanent hurricane
defense for Galveston and the rest of the Houston area.
Texas A&M-Galveston professor William Merrell's proposal would
start with Galveston's existing 10-mile seawall, which was started
after the Great Storm of 1900 killed 6,000 people. Then would come
a series of walls and retractable floodgates extending from one end
of Galveston Bay to the other. The gates could be closed to block
the entrance to the bay when a storm approaches.
The project is modeled after one in the Netherlands, which is
the world's largest flood protection system. The details are still
being worked out, but the idea has already won the support of some
members of a state panel studying disaster preparedness.