DIAMONDHEAD, MS (WLOX) - Some may call it crazy, but a Diamondhead man says his idea for a storm surge barrier is not only credible - it could save billions of dollars in future hurricane damage.
Lee Taylor is now pushing for a formal study of his concept.
"It has basically consumed my life for about 10 years," said Taylor, who envisions a storm surge barrier deployed across the two mile opening of St. Louis Bay. "Storm surge barriers have been around for 200 years. It's old technology, it's well proven technology."
But unlike other elaborate, costly engineering marvels, Taylor's water control plan is simple: stop the surge before it enters the Bay.
"What I came up with is a series of islands. Those islands are connected with concrete culverts; in those concrete culverts are gates," Taylor said. "It's like the bow of a ship. It splits up those wave actions so we don't have to withstand a solid pounding by the wave action."
Taylor's idea was born out of Hurricane Katrina. As a pilot, he flew several inspection trips after the storm and got a bird's eye view of all that storm surge damage.
"And that's what got me thinking about this storm surge barrier idea. If we could put a storm surge barrier across the mouths of these Bays, we could pretty well eliminate all of that damage in future storms," Taylor said.
Taylor estimates it would cost around $80 million to deploy. By comparison, the Bay Bridge cost around $200 million.
"You spend 80 million dollars to put in a storm surge barrier and the next time we have a storm surge, you've got billions and billions of dollars of damage saved," he reasoned.
Taylor is now taking his plans public, with the ultimate goal being a formal study by the Army Corps of Engineers.
"We need a study of this concept, a study of the idea of putting a storm surge barrier across these bays and going for it," Taylor added.
Taylor has even received an endorsement from engineer friend Clark Stanage, who's one of the leading experts in the country on water control projects.