Posted on October 12, 2022
On July 30, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and its contractors successfully completed the first construction contract and first mile of the Sabine Pass to Galveston Bay coastal storm risk management program.
Congress approved $4 billion for the S2G program in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, $863 million of which has been designated for the Port Arthur Project. Under the S2G Program, USACE and its non‑federal sponsors are designing and implementing effective and ecologically-sound solutions to reduce the risk of coastal storm surge to communities, businesses and industry in Orange, Jefferson and Brazoria Counties.
The Port Arthur Project, a component of the S2G Program, is a partnership of the USACE Galveston District and the Jefferson County Drainage District No. 7 , with funding support from the State of Texas, the Texas General Land Office, and the Gulf Coast Protection District. Design and construction costs for the project are shared between these entities (65% federal / 35% non‑federal), with USACE being responsible for managing design and construction, while DD7 will continue to operate and maintain the system moving forward.
Recognizing the increasing risk of stronger tropical storms and rising seas, the Port Arthur Project provides critical improvements to increase the level of protection, or risk reduction, provided by the existing hurricane flood protection system in Port Arthur. The first Port Arthur construction contract was awarded March 2020 and included raises to approximately 5,500 feet of existing earthen levee in West Port Arthur, requiring approximately 55,000 cubic yards of fill material. Construction was completed with approximately 76,000 logged manhours and no recorded safety incidents.
“For over 40 years, the Port Arthur hurricane flood protection system has protected the region from coastal storm surge,” said DD7 General Manager Phil Kelley. “The Jefferson County Drainage District No. 7 is very excited to mark completion of this first phase of the Port Arthur Project. Improving our hurricane flood protection system is vitally needed to ensure our region can safely weather more intense hurricanes and rising seas over the next 50 to 100 years.”
Additional portions of the project are currently in the design phase. It is anticipated that the nine remaining construction contracts will commence between 2022 and 2026, with all construction for the Port Arthur Project anticipated to conclude in 2028 based on current construction estimates.
“Since the S2G Program was authorized and funded in 2018, the Army Corps of Engineers has been pushing hard to ‘turn dirt’ on these critical coastal storm risk reduction projects,” said USACE Galveston District Commander Col. Rhett A. Blackmon. “Completion of this first construction contract represents a major milestone in these efforts. The additional construction contracts to be awarded in the near future will continue this momentum. Over the coming years, we look forward to completing this critical project to prepare the Port Arthur area to better withstand extreme storm events, protecting life, property, and economic productivity.”
For more information about the S2G Program and the Port Arthur Project, visit https://www.swg.usace.army.mil/S2G/.
The Gulf Coast Protection District was created in 2021 by the 87th Texas Legislature to oversee the implementation of an integrated and comprehensive coastal resilience strategy for the upper Texas coast. Specifically, this includes assuming the role of non-federal sponsor for major portions of the federally funded and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers led Coastal Texas Program and Sabine Pass to Galveston Bay Program. The GCPD contains approximately 5,220 square miles of land covering Chambers, Galveston, Harris, Jefferson, and Orange counties. For more information about the GCPD, visit https://www.gcpdtexas.com/.
Jefferson County Drainage District No. 7 was established in 1946 and serves the drainage needs of South Jefferson County. DD7 covers an area of 107.42 square miles and encompasses the cities of Port Arthur, Groves, Nederland, Port Neches and unincorporated areas of Jefferson County. For more information about the DD7, visit http://dd7.org/.