Harris County receives grant for tunnel study aimed at reducing flood risks

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A grant will help Harris County Flood Control District in a feasibility investigation of $400,000 large-diameter, deep underground stormwater conveyance tunnels, county officials said.

The U.S. Economic Development Administration issued an award letter to the county. Once the Harris County Commissioners Court accepts the $320,000 grant, it will be matched by $80,000 in local funds provided through the 2018 Bond Program.

The investigation, which is expected to get underway this year, will assess the potential for stormwater tunnels to help drain or increase the capacity of existing bayous and drainage channels.

It will also include a review of soil and groundwater conditions and other geotechnical, geological and environmental assessments

Harris County officials said if the use of tunnels is feasible, they will examine potential tunnel routes, complete hydraulic analysis to determine the required tunnel diameters and figure out proposed inlet and outlet shaft locations.

The idea is for tunnels to collect stormwater at upstream locations along the bayous, convey the stormwater downstream via gravity in deep underground tunnels and discharge stormwater into the Houston Ship Channel, ultimately resulting in significantly reducing flood risks.

Officials said the 2018 Bond Program includes a total of $20 million for preliminary engineering in connection with the tunnel concept.

The investigation is expected to take about four months.

Click here to learn more about the Flood Control District.

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