March 9, 2016

Interim Update: March 2016

Coastal Barrier System Update

The Coastal Barrier System interim study, sponsored by Representative Faircloth during the 84th Legislative Session to study the feasibility and desirability of creating a coastal barrier system, will soon be given a hearing in Galveston on April 11th. The committee studying this issue includes both the Natural Resources Committee in the Senate and the Land and Resource Management Committee in the House, along with other members as appointed by the Lieutenant Governor and Speaker of the House. The committee has until December 1, 2016 to report to the governor and the legislature the findings of the study and make any recommendations developed by the committee.

The Gulf Coast Community Protection and Recovery District (GCCPRD) is now laying out their findings from Phase 2 of their study. Following three major hurricanes, the last of which (Hurricane Ike) was the most expensive in Texas' history, Governor Perry issued an Executive Order creating GCCPRD. One of the Commission's recommendations was to conduct a study to determine how coastal communities can reduce the damage impact of future storms. In conjunction with that recommendation, Brazoria, Chambers, Galveston, Harris, Jefferson and Orange Counties formed the GCCPRD as a local government corporation. Phase 1 of the Storm Surge Suppression Study included a series of public meetings in 2014. Phase 2 includes storm surge modeling, alternatives development, and a thorough assessment of mitigation options for the entire region. Phase 3 will use these findings from Phase 1 and 2 in order to recommend a cost-effective and efficient system of flood damage reduction and storm surge suppression measures to help protect the six-county region.

The Texas General Land Office (GLO) is continuing to work simultaneously on two coastal studies. The joint study with the Army Corps of Engineers will focus on approximately eight to 12 large storm mitigation construction projects that will be both impactful and feasible. The Master Plan will complement the Corps Study by focusing on smaller projects such as sand dunes, marsh restoration, and beach re-nourishment.   

Work has begun on both of these studies. In December, the GLO announced the winner of the engineering firm for the Master Plan. This firm will work with GLO staff to develop the state's plan. In January, the GLO participated in a kickoff event with the Corps to help identify first steps for the Corps Study. In March, the GLO will meet with Corps senior staff in Galveston to finalize the project management plan (ˈPMPˈ). The PMP is the working document that will guide the Corps Study.

In January the GLO announced the Commissioner's Coastal Resiliency Advisory Group. This group will meet quarterly along the coast to provide input about best practices and pressing issues facing the Texas coastline. It will be comprised of 15 members drawn from elected officials, industry leaders and local conservationists. Three members will be selected from each of five coastal regions of the Regional Councils of Government (COG's).

These regions are:

  • Region 15: Hardin, Jefferson, Orange
  • Region 16: Austin, Brazoria, Chambers, Colorado, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Matagorda, Montgomery, Walker, Waller, Wharton
  • Region 17: Calhoun, DeWitt, Goliad, Gonzales, Jackson, Lavaca, Victoria
  • Region 20: Aransas, Bee, Brooks, Duval, Jim Wells, Kenedy, Kleburg, Live Oak, Nueces, Refugio, San Patricio
  • Region 21: Cameron, Hildago, Willacy 

In summary, there are multiple studies and economic impact analysis' still being conducted. The best thing at this point, until federal funds are available to help construct these projects, is that we continue to narrowly examine the best methods going forward. Rep. Faircloth is committed to continue to work with folks in Congress, across the state, throughout the coastal region such as with the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership (BAHEP) and here locally with help from Texas A&M-Galveston to garner the support needed to obtain the necessary funding to complete a coastal barrier system which will go toward helping to save lives and reducing the economic impact from a costal storm surge.

Zika Virus Disease  

With all this talk about the Zika Virus, many folks are unfamiliar as to what exactly the Zika Virus is and how it could potentially effect you. To learn more, please click on the following link: http://www.utmb.edu/newsroom/article10808.aspx

Thank you University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) for your work in searching for a vaccine. In case you missed it, here is a link to a recent CBS This Morning video regarding UTMB's research: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/zika-virus-vaccine-lab-university-of-texas-medical-branch-galveston/

SH 87 at SH 124 Roadway Safety and Mobility Improvements

UPDATES:

  • TxDOT maintenance crews have completed the installation of concrete barriers at SH 87, near the intersection with SH 124. The installation is intended to minimize wave action that washes over the roadway and deposits sand and debris. The barriers are anchored to additional concrete barriers that are buried in the sand. The installation is intended to be temporary while a permanent solution is determined and implemented.
  • Flashing warning signs have been placed at two key locations warning motorists of the potential for high water on SH 87 at SH 124. One sign has been placed before Rollover Pass on SH 87 that informs motorists heading toward SH 124 and a similar sign has been placed along SH 124 near First Street in High Island for motorists heading toward SH 87.
  • TxDOT is reviewing the possibility of placing material between the two rows of concrete barriers that are currently in place to enhance the development of sheltering dunes. The General Land Office and TxDOT environmental personnel are reviewing the material requirements.
  • LJA Engineering, Inc. of Houston is completing a study that will determine viable long-term solutions to the issue of water washing across SH 87. The study is expected to be complete by the end of March 2016.
  • TxDOT Maintenance crews will continue to monitor conditions along SH 87 at SH 124 especially during times of high-tide to make sure the road is clear of debris.

More Information:

For road closures related to SH 87 at SH 124 go to www.houstontranstar.org or www.drivetexas.org. You can also follow us on Twitter @TxDOTHoustonPIO. Information related to TxDOT can be found at www.TxDOT.gov.

You can also contact the TxDOT Public Information Office at (713) 802-5077 for further information related to SH 87 at SH 124.

Representative Faircloth at Propeller Club in February

Propeller Club of Galveston County Steak Dinner. 

 

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