Header Graphic: Coastal Barrier Information
Lift Gates: Coastal Barriers
Protecting people, property, and industry
Map of HollandHolland, Belgium, and the UK were hit with a major flooding event in 1953. It was caused by a heavy storm that occurred in the over night hours between Saturday and Sunday Jan 31-Feb 1. Over 1,800 people died.

Storms from the North Sea aren't uncommon. Flooding events like this storm are caused by storm winds pushing the seas into the narrowing channel between the European continent and England which causes water to backup and rise.

Much of the Netherland's land mass is below sea level which requires dikes, barriers, and the like to be built in order to protect people, property, and industry in the area.
In 1953 there was a major storm/flood that hit Holland causing death and distruction
The Eastern Scheldt Barrier
The Eastern Scheldt Barrier is located between the North Sea and the
Scheldt Estuary
(see the red dot on the map left). It is about 5.9 miles
long and has 62 individual lift gates. It takes about an hour and a half
to lower all the gates.

The lift gates shown above are similar to those being proposed
for part of the Houston-Galveston surge protection barrier.(see below)

Lift Gates proposed by the Army Corps of Enbgineers
Sail boat regatta in the waters behind the Eastern Barrier with mussel harvesting is shown in the forground
The lift gates at the Eastern Scheldt Barrier were originally designed,
and partly built, as a closed dam, but after a public outcry, huge
sluice-gate-type doors were installed. These doors are normally open,
but can be closed under adverse weather conditions. In this way, the
salinity of the water behind the barrier can be controlled so that
saltwater marine life, such as mussels and oysters, is preserved and
fishing can continue, while during a storm the land behind the barrier
remains safe from the on coming water.

The full Eastern Scheldt Barrier has been closed twenty-seven times
since 1986, due to water levels exceeding, or being predicted to exceed,
three meters above normal. The last time the barrier was completely
closed was January 3, 2018.

The use of lift gates, at the Bolivar Roads opening in the Houston Ship
Channel [as proposed by the U.S Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)],
like those at the Eastern Scheldt Barrier, will minimize the environmental
impact on fish and other aquatic wildlife that live in Galveston Bay or
which need to be able to transit in and out of the Bay. The initial USACE
design was going to have a 30% adverse impact on aquatic life. Under
the current plan that has been reduced to no more than 10%. Recreational
fishing and boating will have access to the Gulf through two 125 foot gates
on either side of the two main 650 foot gates that are meant for larger vessels.
Sarge at the lift gates, Eastern Scheldt Barrier in the Netherlands

The author of this Website at the Eastern Scheldt Barrier in the Netherlands
(Circa September 2019)
The Lift Gates in high seas

What the lift gates look like in high seas

The Texas A&M Galveston delegation visiting the surge protection barriers in Holland

Texas A&M Galveston students, faculty, and concerned citizens at the Eastern Scheldt Barrier (Netherlands)

Click on image to
see larger view


Using lift gates similar to those in the Eastern Scheldt Barrier makes
sense. It is the best solution yet proposed that balances environmental
concerns with the safety of people, property and industry surrounding
the Houston Ship Channel.