The government will fund the building of an 1,800-foot wall near the ocean in front of the Savannah Gully as one of the strategies to prevent it from flooding with sea surge during storms.
Cabinet Minister Arden McLean said at the Cabinet press briefing Friday the US-based engineering company Orth-Rogers and Associates Inc. had submitted its design to the government on 8 August. Less than two weeks later, the Savannah Gully flooded when Hurricane Dean passed a little more than 100 miles south of Grand Cayman.
The timing of the announcement was coincidental to that flooding, Mr. McLean asserted.
‘It had nothing to do with Dean,’ he said, reiterating that the design documents had already been received prior to that storm.
Mr. McLean promised to come up with a solution for the Savannah Gully problem shortly after Hurricane Wilma caused extensive flooding to it in October 2005.
‘If I make a promise, I’m going to keep that promise,’ he said, adding that the solution has required testing and the design of a multi-phase solution.
‘It was decided a little earlier this year that the first part of the solution was to build a wall out there,’ he said. ‘[Orth-Rogers] went away to design a wall… You cannot just build an eight-inch wall and expect it to be effective; it has to be properly designed.’
Although he did not know the exact dimensions of the wall, Mr. McLean said he thought it might be eight feet high and as much as four or five feet thick. The cost of the wall will go into the millions.
‘It is absolutely necessary to spend that money.’
After review of the design plans, tender documents will be drafted, Mr. McLean said.
‘We should put it out to tender by November or thereabouts,’ he said. ‘Hopefully, by the next hurricane season, we’ll have something out there.’
The wall, which will be built some 400 or 500 feet inland, will not form the entire solution for the Savannah Gully problem, but Mr. McLean said it should alleviate some of the flooding.
Future phases of the project will include the possible excavation of some areas of the gully and designed drainage into the North Sound.