This week in engineering history ASCE recognizes the Galveston Seawall and Grade Raising project completed in 1911. A board discussed and approved the need for a seawall after a devastating hurricane hit Galveston Island on September 8, 1900. This storm is one of the greatest natural disasters in American history. With the loss of almost 14 percent of the island’s population and tens of millions of dollars in damage a solution to prevent another disaster was a top priority.
The article states, “Using pioneering materials and methods, civil engineers designed and built a concrete seawall on Galveston Island and raised the island’s elevation to prevent future natural disasters…”
The grade raising of Galveston provided support for the seawall but also helped with drainage and other infrastructure. ASCE reported, “Materials used in constructing the original seawall included 5,200 railway carloads of crushed granite; 1,800 carloads of sand; 1,000 carloads of cement; 1,200 carloads of round wooden pilings; 4,000 carloads of wooden sheet pilings; 3,700 carloads of stone riprap; and 5 carloads of reinforcing steel.”
The impressive Galveston Seawall stands the test of time by daily facing the challenges of water, salt and sand erosion and withstanding hurricanes for more than 100 years.
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