Five years ago the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District and the Port of Bay City in Texas partnered on the study and new construction of an east jetty at the mouth of the Colorado River. The work was needed to stabilize the shallow draft navigation channel and reduce maintenance dredging. Today the infrastructure saves $200000 annually in dredging costs.
According to Chief of Project Operations Karl Brown USACE Galveston District in the case of the mouth of Colorado River a federally authorized shallow draft navigation channel located in Matagorda County Texas shoaling had become an ongoing issue that required immediate attention for both safety and economic reasons.
“While a weir jetty system was put in place in the early 1980s to stabilize the inlet and provide access to the Gulf of Mexico our research found that the weir jetty’s configuration was ineffective in minimizing shoaling” said Brown. “This shoaling required the removal of 590000 cubic yards dredged material annually to maintain the navigation channel which was twice the design estimate.”
“This is a great success story” said Mike Griffith chairman of the Port of Bay City Authority. “Working together we were able to reprogram federal hurricane relief money to study model and design a new east jetty system and through our combined efforts we received $22.5 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 funding for construction with a local match from the Port of Bay City for $1.3 million.”