Conceptual Design and Physical Model Tests of a Levee-in-Dune Hurricane Barrier



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



In an effort to protect the Greater Houston Metropolitan Area from hurricane storm surge damage, four Levee-in-Dune concepts are studied as part of the Ike Dike project. The Ike Dike is a proposed hurricane surge barrier developed by Dr. William Merrell at Texas A&M University at Galveston and is based on best practices developed by the Dutch. The project would span 62 mi including a levee system along the Galveston and Bolivar coasts, and a channel barrier across Bolivar Roads. This design study includes a homogeneous sand dune, and three dunes that each incorporate different protective cores: an armorstone revetment core, a clay levee core, and a concrete T-Wall core. The concepts undergo physical model tests that subject them to conditions that simulate 100-year storm damage caused by both surge and waves. Dune and beach morphology for each concept is measured through laser profiling techniques, and each concept is evaluated based on calculated erosion and accretion, as well as design considerations including cost. Wave conditions are measured by capacitance gauges at several locations. The Clay-Core and T-Wall concepts proved to be the most effective barriers against hurricane storm surge and wave protection based on their endurance during testing.