GOOD TO GO
The Texas General Land Office (GLO) has cleared the way for the final phase of a project to build bulkheading along Port Aransas' Corpus Christi Ship Channel frontage.
The GLO gave the contractor on the remaining 6,000 feet of bulkheading an official notice to proceed late last month, City Manager Michael Kovacs said. A pre-construction meeting will be scheduled for sometime this month, he said.
The project aims at preserving land from being washed away by the wakes of the large ships that use the channel to get to and from the Port of Corpus Christi. Experts have said as much as 17 feet of land per year had been eroded by the wakes washing ashore and wearing away the soil.
While the entire project is being casually called “bulkheading,” the final phase will in fact be not a concrete bulkhead, but a revetment, instead. A revetment is rocks placed in the water to break up the waves as they reach the shore, softening their impact.
Work on the last part was speeded up at the city council meeting on Dec. 21 when a representative of Cheniere Energy handed Mayor Claude Brown a check for $250,000. That will be the city's share of the project cost, which is estimated at $2.75 million.
Cheniere Eneergy, which is building a liquid natural gas plant on the north shore of Corpus Christi Bay, had promised the money as its contribution to the shoreline erosion project. When the GLO said it needed the city's share before the end of the year, Cheniere handed over the check earlier than planned.
“(The contractor) will have 90 days to get the revetment material in place and a construction window from April through June,” said David Parsons, the city's director of projects and planning.
The bulkheading project has been going on since 2002. That year, the city, in partnership with the GLO and the Port of Corpus Chrisit, built 1.400 feet of concrete retaining wall. Stretches of 1,700 feet (2003) and 1,600 feet (2005) have been added since then.
That shoreline is where the proposed Charlie's Pasture Nature Preserve adjoins the ship channel, and land being lost was being eroded from nature preserve property. The bulkheading was seen as essential to protect the preserve and the uplands and wetlands that are part of it.
Planners are in the final phases of designing the nature preserve and gaining U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permits for the project. It is being paid for through $1.2 million in certificates of obligation approved by the city council in 2004.