Hurricane Ike, the third most destructive hurricane to hit the U.S., severely damaged much of the landscape and buildings of Galveston, Texas. Several areas along the Port Bolivar section of the Gulf Coast Intracoastal Waterway that are designated as dredged material placement areas (as well as nearby Wildlife Management Areas along the Trinity River in Wallisville) were heavily impacted by hurricane debris. Many of these placement areas were rendered unusable for dredged material placement until cleared of debris and repaired. This posed a problem because the waterway requires near constant dredging to maintain the depths required for commercial shipping craft. Similarly, Galveston Ferry landings also require regular dredging to remain operable. Without functional placement areas for dredged material, dredging operations essentially halted in the waterway, threatening the important economic lifeline for the recovering Gulf Region.

Photo: Courtesy Conti Group

Despite complex logistics and harsh site conditions, The Conti Group, the project’s GC/CM, rapidly cleared the wide variety of debris and household hazardous waste and restored the Port Bolivar dredged material placement areas into working order. Crews also cleared debris at the marsh and swamps at the Wallisville site.

The Bolivar site, located in the remote, hurricane-devastated areas of north Galveston, required equipment and crews to be mobilized by barge and required workers to live in RVs near the site. In addition, intense heat and sun, as well as dangerous wildlife onsite required additional personal protective equipment to be worn at all times. Working under these conditions, the Conti team cleared debris and repaired, raised and constructed sections of levees on three placement areas. They also rebuilt four drop outlet structures to allow water emanating from hydraulic dredging to drain out back into the waterway without losing the majority of sediments intended to remain inside the placement area.

At the Wallisville site in Chambers County, a public park area was restored by removing, among other debris, more than 18 tons of large appliances and more than 100 tires from the hurricane.

The Bolivar project included disposal of more than 15,000 lbs. of household hazardous waste, 4,500 lbs. of electronic waste and 108,000 cu. yds. of construction and demolition debris. This clean up resulted in the full restoration of dredging operations along the Gulf Coast International Waterway in the Port Bolivar areas and critical Galveston-area ferry landings, which facilitates the extensive barge and ferry traffic to Galveston’s infrastructure.

This project was an especially complex logistical challenge. The placement areas were small “islands” located along the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. Conti needed to mobilize equipment to each of the sites, provide crew access on a daily basis, and quickly and cost effectively remove debris from the sites for processing and disposal on the mainland. Given limited site access, flat-deck barges were used for equipment mobilization and subsequent hazardous waste debris removal, while hopper barges were used for construction debris removal.

Key Players

Submitted by: The Conti Group
Developer/owner: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District, Offutt AFB, Neb.
General contractor/construction manager: The Conti Group, Edison, N.J.