In the aftermath of Hurricane Ike, officials may soon hire an engineering firm to draw up a study for a levee system in Orange County.

A committee, which Bridge City Mayor Kirk Roccaforte said was comprised of “every entity in Orange County,” has met for some time with the general idea of a levee system; and hopes the group can “keep the ball rolling.”

County Judge Carl Thibodeaux said the committee will study various proposals before, and if, a public announcement is made.

“We’ve been meeting privately with various engineering firms,” he said. “We’re studying those proposals and will report to the Economic Development Corp. by the end of the month. We want a study. We don’t have the money for a study, and we’re hoping to get that possibly through the EDC.”

If an engineering firm is signed, it will likely be announced during a commissioners’ meeting, he said.

“We want to try to keep this thing rolling along,” Roccaforte said. “We’ve had the idea of going through the EDC for some time.

They will do the interviews and assess what the charges will be. It’s a very complex process. But hopefully we can keep things going in order to pursue things further.”

The last time a levee study was done for Orange County was in 1975 by the Army Corps of Engineers. 

Four proposals, the least of which cost $112 million, met with more criticism than support. Some of that criticism included potential ecological problems caused by navigational gates that could disrupt the regular stream flows in Adams and Cow bayous. There was also a feeling that flood walls would “trap” Orange County if reservoirs such as Toledo Bend broke.

An Army engineer said in 1975 the ultimately-rejected study had taken about a year to complete and cost $150,000.