A proposal to build a 17-foot-high sea wall along 60 miles of the upper Texas coast, to potentially limit damage to the US petrochemical industry hub from storms is being mulled. Last year, Hurricane Ike had caused US$32 bln worth damage to the greater Houston area-cutting most of the area’s chemical production for weeks, and months in some cases. Almost 50% of the country’s petrochemicals and about 25% of its oil comes up from the Houston Ship Channel. Hence any impediment to traffic here becomes a national problem. The Atlantic hurricane season usually lasts from June to November.
The wall could protect almost all of the Galveston-Bolivar Peninsula area from water and storm surge damage from future hurricanes. With a wall, chemical companies would not have to dedicate as many resources to making their facilities hurricane-resistant. The wall is estimated to cost US$2-3 bln, a small cost compared with the costs of damage caused by the storms that hit the Houston area.